Appendix 1: Memoirs of George Griesbach

Editorial Notes

The memoirs are copied into an exercise book, 9 inches by 7 inches, and are in the same hand; a total of approximately 7,500 words. It is clear that they are a copy of the original, as the exercise book has metal staples which did not come into use until the late 19th century, and the style of handwriting corresponds with   that date. Regarding content, George commenced writing on 7 November 1811 in Windsor, and concluded it on 26 December 1820.  It is not possible to discern when and where he put down his pen and picked it up again. Various names and dates etc. have been inserted, in a markedly different hand. The notebook at one time is thought to have belonged to George Sharman, George Griesbach’s grandson. These insertions are marked in the transcription thus:  living / . The pages were not numbered, so I have paginated the notebook and the page numbers appear in the transcription in square brackets, thus:  [p.1] . The original spelling was in the main correct, but the few spelling errors have been corrected for ease of comprehension. However, the original spelling of all personal and place names has been retained. The writer mixes the use of ‘and’ and the ampersand indiscriminately. I have removed the ampersand and standardised it with ‘and’ throughout. Punctuation has been added and modernised, apostrophes and paragraphs also, and most abbreviations lengthened. George’s use of capital letters for many nouns has been standardised.  Where the grammar of the sentence is not correct, [sic] has been inserted, or a word or words have been inserted in square brackets, but none have been removed. Also, all underlinings have been retained. In a few cases there could be confusion over the use of ‘of’ in the place where we today would use ‘for’ or ‘from’.

As stated in the acknowledgements, I am indebted to Torsten Riotte of the German Historical Institute, London, for information about Hanoverian officials and to Rev. Eckhard von Rabenau for information about the history and practice of the German Lutheran Church.  Dr Sven Mahmens of the Niedersächsisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Hannover, sent me information relating to the Electorate of Hanover in the eighteenth-century.

In the footnotes ‘Caroline’ refers to Caroline Herschel; BL:  The British Library, London,   and RA: The Royal Archives at Windsor. Sources that are not listed in the bibliography in Volume 1 are given here in full, whereas those that are listed in the bibliography, are given here only in an abbreviated form.

It has been presumed that the reader will have already read the thesis, so explanations already given there are not repeated here.

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[p.1]    Windsor, November 7th, 1811

I undertake to write these few pages, first out of esteem to several gentlemen, my friends, now long living/ no more in Germany. Secondly, for the perusal of  my sons and daughters, considering how happy I should be if I could read over the particulars of my father’s life who is now dead about 41 years[1] – and perhaps my sons may profit from some circumstance or other which will be here mentioned.

I was born [on] October 11th, 1757, at Hanover. My father Joachim Heinrich Griesbach – married Sophia Herschel/ was musician in the Guards of Foot, and was at the time of my birth in the campaign against the French, it being then wartime. His father-in-law, Herschell,[2] with his two eldest sons were with him [sic];[3] the former caught such a cold by sleeping in the open air one night after a severe march that he lost his health and did not live perhaps two years after.[4]

My father finding his military situation very uncomfortable, as well by the fatigue of the campaign as the absence from home, I conclude that these were the reasons that he quitted it, and took a place as town musician of Coppenbrügge and the county, which however is a very small one, having but five villages besides the town. But he had [p.2] the business of three other places in the Brunswick territory for which he paid a certain stipend to the government of it.[5] From the government of his own county, however, he had a salary which consisted in corn[6]  for which he was obliged to play hymn tunes from

[1] His father died on 31 January 1773, so, if George was writing in 1811, it would be thirty-eight years since his father’s death.
[2] The writer is inconsistent in the spelling of Herschel. This family’s surname is usually spelt with a single ‘l’.
[3] William was with his father, but Jacob had by this stage left the army. See Hoskin, Caroline Herschel’s Autobiographies, pp.26-27
[4] For details of this see Lubbock, The Herschel Chronicle, p.9 and Hoskin, Caroline Herschel’s Autobiographies, pp.98-99;115. Although Isaac’s health was broken at the time, he lived another ten years or so, until 1767.
[5] Presumably by paying the ‘stipend’ for the business of three other places in the Brunswick territory, he would have gained the sole right to play for all private functions there, which potentially could be quite lucrative. ‘Stadtpfeifer’ Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart 8, p.1719
[6] Caroline used the Hanoverian term ‘Himpen Rocken’ for 22 kg of rye as payment in kind.
Hoskin, Caroline Herschel’s Autobiographies, p.107
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the church steeple whenever he was at home, twice a day; and on the great festivals to play in the church when Te Deum was sung; and on New Year’s Day morning to play from the Town Hall.

The salary qualified him to keep apprentices, and the above duties he generally performed with the ’prentice alone – from the steeple with a clarionet[7] and sackbut; in church with violins (and other instruments, for he generally had assistants), from the town hall trumpets. Before he left the military he came over with the German troops that were sent to England, and was quartered at or near Colchester.[8] When they returned to Germany the 2nd son of Isaach Herschell stayed behind and never left England for good since, and this is now the famous Dr Herschell.[9]

My mother was the eldest daughter of Isaach Herschel and the first-born of his family. She was a very clever and intelligent woman, esteemed and beloved by us all, and by all the first-rate people in Coppenbrügge. I think her marriage took place in her one and twentieth year.[10] She had been from home several years in the capacity of [p.3] ladies maid in a family at Brunswick[11] and had likewise resided at Hambro’[12] (and I believe at Zell), but whether with the above family or her own I do not recollect. At least half of the time that I was at Coppenbrügge, I venture to say, proved untoward in regard to my father’s earning, which induced him to persuade my mother to try to get the public School of Girls of Coppenbrügge. Though it was much

[7] ‘Clarionet’ was an old-style spelling for clarinet.
[8] The Essex Record Offices at Colchester and Chelmsford have no references relating to Hanoverian Foot Guards being stationed in the vicinity of Colchester at this time. This may be incorrect. See Lubbock, Herschel Chronicle, p.8; This is probably an error for Rochester, where the Guards stayed before their return to Hanover. I am grateful to Michael Hoskins for pointing this out.
[9] William Herschel became famous when, in 1781, as a keen amateur astronomer, he discovered the planet Uranus. The following year the King conferred on him a pension that enabled him to give up his career as a musician in Bath and devote himself to astronomy. His only duties were to reside near Windsor Castle, and to be available to show the heavens to the Royal Family and their guests. Caroline’s correspondence makes it clear that the Griesbachs were sometimes present, and that sometimes music was played on these evening trips with guests to view the skies. Hoskin, The Herschel Partnership (dust-jacket); BL ‘Correspondence of Caroline Herschel’: Egerton 3761 f.145-145v; 3762 f.51v
[10] Sophia Herschel was already twenty-one when she married in January 1755.
[11] Sophia was working for a family in Braunschweig just before her marriage. Hoskin, Caroline Herschel’s Autobiographies, p.101
[12] George uses ‘ Hambro’ ’ as an abbreviation for Hamburg (‘burg’ meaning ‘borough’ in German). Isaac Herschel did take his family to live in Hamburg for a brief period (1746 - 47), when Sophia was in her mid-teens. Hoskin, Caroline Herschel’s Autobiographies, pp.98-99
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against her will, yet she succeeded (N.B. this was when the place became vacant by the death of the governess).  Everybody congratulated her, as well as themselves on the occasion. She acquitted herself to the satisfaction of everybody during perhaps 11 or 12 years, but so worrying and fatiguing it proved to her, that on the death of my Father she resigned.

The things which I recollect when I was a mere infant are that my Uncle Alexander Herschel (who was my Father’s first apprentice, and whom he took with him on leaving Hanover for Coppenbrügge) took me very frequently in the winter evenings to a neighbour’s farmhouse (Hornkahl’s – long since gone to rack and ruin, and [the] house pulled down).  Here I used to sit upon one or the other’s lap, close round a hot stove – the young men smoking tobacco and the daughters, maids and neighbouring young women assembled with their spinning wheels [p.4] as busy spinning as possible, while the young men tried to keep pace with their pipes and some one or other telling stories. I remember likewise that Uncle Alexander made a sledge, upon which he put a large baking trough and me in that, covered up with a large red horseman’s cloak, and so off with  over [sic] ‘stick and block’ German: “Stock & Stein”/ (as we call it)[13] behind the town through everybody’s garden and orchard; the hedges and partitions being all broke[n] up for firewood by the warriors, either friend or foe. For in such winters as I recollect, which last sometimes for months, the earth covered with snow several feet deep, fires they must make, even if it was of the house furniture. I recollect likewise that the most valuable things of my father’s were walled in with a trap door, or such a door as no one would suspect. I have likewise been once dangerously ill and my Father probably being absent, Uncle Alexander wrapped me up, and with a large cloth fastened me upon his back and carries me to Hanover to a physician, I burning with a violent fever – by which means I was saved, but do not recollect anything of it. I said in the beginning, I wrote this out of esteem to some gentlemen, now no more. Thank God I can make an exception here, for my Uncle Alexander is still living and in good health. I met him [p.5] unexpectedly about three weeks ago at Datchet ferry – he was just come out of the ferry boat and I was

[13] The meaning of this expression is ‘over or past any obstacle that may come in one’s way’.
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hastening to get in.[14]

My father knew the art (if it so may be called) of making snuff, and in [my] early infancy he was hard at work and I being noisy and [his finding my] running about the room too much for him, he made me sit down on a stool as quiet as a statue and I was almost choked with the snuff.[15]

When I was about five years old, I could play “God save the King” upon a small diminutive violin, called “Adamken”[16] and I was frequently obliged to perform when any stranger came, but was allowed to retire out of sight, behind the stove. I was hardly six years old when I was put to school, the public boys’ school at Coppenbrügge. I finished my whole schooling under one and the same master, which was Rector Herbst. He was reckoned a very clever man – for he had been at the University, and preached occasionally and was besides, the organist, and had a very fine organ to perform on at church, which was built after he came to that place. This man was my father’s and all our intimate friend; he stood godfather to Henry Justus Heinrich Christian / my brother, and my parents frequently stood for his children. His house was the next to the parson’s, and when my mother had the girls’ school, ours was next [p.6] to his, all in the churchyard.[17] He grew fonder of me as I advanced in my learning and in music, for he was excessively fond of music and encouraged it by very frequent meetings

[14] For more information about the life of Alexander Herschel, see Hoskin, ‘Alexander Herschel’, Journal for the History of Astronomy, XXXV (2004) pp.387 - 420. Alexander visited his brother William, and his sister Caroline fairly regularly, especially during the summer months, after they moved to Slough and he remained in Bath. Dietrich was in England too at this time. It must have been on one of those visits that George encountered Alexander unexpectedly.
Datchet is a low-lying parish sloping on the south-west towards the River Thames, whose midstream forms the boundary between Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. Windsor lies on the Berkshire side of the river and Datchet on the Buckinghamshire side.
[15] At this time Germany grew tobacco, some of which was exported to England and used in certain snuff blends. George’s father may have used the home-grown product or carottes of imported tobacco. The manufacture of snuff involved drying the tobacco until it was brittle; then grinding it into a powder either with a pestle and mortar, or with a large rasp like a heavy nutmeg grater, or with a hand grinder like a coffee mill. The snuff was then sieved to produce the fine powder: hence the dust. Snuff was very popular in the eighteenth century. Queen Charlotte was so partial to it that in later life she consumed a considerable amount, and earned herself the nickname ‘Snuffy Charlotte’. Hugh McCausland, Snuff and snuff-boxes ( London, 1951) pp.21, 80-82, 51
[16] Caroline describes the small child-size violin as an ‘Adempken’. Hoskin, Caroline Herschel’s Autobiographies, pp.33,110
[17] This was probably the usual set-up in small towns, but would not have been so in the larger ones.
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in the evenings at his or our house, sometimes at the parson’s. Here we played overtures, trios and quartets and he was our violoncellist, though but a very indifferent one. But I was obliged to attend my father at weddings and many other occasions where the chief pleasure of the company consisted in dancing, and where I was obliged to play minuets, country dances etc for several days and late at nights, which I never liked.[18] I enjoyed the music we played with the Rector so much that I easily overlooked his bad playing on the Bass.[19]

Rector Herbst is the second gentleman I mention, whom I always greatly esteemed and to whose memory I owe thankfulness; for I was taught the pianoforte by him sufficiently to do the duty for him at church when he had the gout, and also to give lessons at Coppenbrügge, where I even was preferred by one family, viz. where he was dismissed and I chosen. But he did not bear me the smallest malice, it being inconvenient to him to dress on purpose to give a lesson.[20] I am glad however to recollect that he was paid for his instruction, and I believe it originated with my father, for he [p.7] procured a clavichord[21] for me, and I recollect it was alleged by him it  might prove one time or other useful to me. I believe I wanted no persuasion to learn it, unless it was that I already had so many instruments to practice: viz. the violin, violoncello, clarionet, oboe, French horn, sackbut [trombone] and trumpet, on all of which I lent a hand as occasion required, but the

[18] A big wedding could last for several days, and the Stadtpfeifer and his assistants would be involved at every stage. Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart 8, pp.1723 -1724
[19] George is using the word ‘bass’ here to describe an instrument from the lower part of the musical system, as distinguished from the treble. ‘Bass’ could be used as the generic term for any and all bass instruments. (Haydn discussed scorings of the bass part in a letter of 1768 as follows: ‘I prefer just three basses - that is, one cello, one bassoon and one double bass.’) ‘Bass (i)’
[20] Teachers’ salaries in Germany at this time were so low that they struggled to maintain a family, even though the salary was often supplemented by corn, money for wood, and living accommodation. Part of the salary was made up of school fees, and if the parents were slow to produce the fees, the teacher had to go from house to house to collect it; contemporaries record that it made them feel like beggars asking for alms. The low status of the teacher meant that the post was often filled by men without training or inclination for the job - though this does not seem to have been the case here. George’s reference to clothing here may be related to the fact that a teacher’s everyday clothing might reflect his lack of means. Though a teacher might wear a black coat and powdered wig for public occasions, in school he often wore a type of calico dressing-gown and slippers, which was the virtual uniform for teachers from the eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. Sagarra, A social history of Germany 1648 -1914, pp.94-97.
[21] Clavichord: an instrument which is, in appearance when opened, like a small rectangular piano - usually a sort of box that could be placed upon a table for playing, but sometimes it had legs. Scholes,The Oxford Companion to Music, p.175
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violin and piano were my favourite instruments, and those I practised chiefly.

Here I mention my third gentleman with gratitude which is my Uncle John Dietrich Herschel, for I went frequently to Hanover and he gave me lessons on that instrument [the violin] which I also remember with the greatest gratitude, for it enabled me when I came over to England to take first violin in the band[22] engaged for the Queen, this took place after we had two or three times performed. For we found we had no good ’cello player except him who at first took the first violin, so it was soon arranged – to my great joy – that he should take the violoncello and I the first violin, which situation I kept for two and thirty years ’till we discontinued attending on account of the King’s illness.[23] And this leading the band was in a manner familiar to me, as I had for above five years played the first violin at our little music parties after my father’s death, as well as the minuets and other pieces such as marches and country dances on public occasions. [p.8] [I] also played very frequently the organ to the singing with all their might of three or four hundred people.

But to return to the school: it was in comparison to English academies but a very poor place for instruction, excepting religion.[24]   [There were]  the tasks in the catechisms of which we had two on a very large scale; one called the Brunswick Luneburg, or Hanoverian catechism, and the other the Hambro’ catechism. The Hanoverian is in plain questions and answers (though some of them very long) of everything concerning religion, and every point is proved by a verse from the scriptures. The Hambro’ catechism is very learned and beautiful.[25] Of these there was every day a good part to be learned by

[22] The term ‘band’ has many applications in music. In a general sense, it may refer to almost any ensemble of instruments. ‘Band’ came to mean orchestra in colloquial British usage, but more specifically a band might be mobile (sometimes playing outdoors), would generally play to a non-paying audience, and was often associated with specific military or civic duties and were thus uniformed. ‘Band (i)’
[23] George may be suggesting here that the Queen’s Private Band stopped playing together so regularly from about 1810.
[24] The average German school was pitifully inadequate at this time, for the reasons stated above. Sagarra, A social history of Germany 1648 -1914, p.95
[25] In the Holy Roman Empire the ruler of each state would decide what the religious persuasion of the people would be. Hanover was, and still is, strongly Lutheran. The central instrument for teaching the Christian faith to children was Luther’s so-called ‘Small Catechism’. This was originally printed in the form of a poster and has been used in all Lutheran churches since 1529. In the eighteenth century, under the influence of the Enlightenment, nationalism and Pietism, attempts were made to modernise this catechism. One catechism which was the result of that was the Hanover Catechism. The Hamburg Catechism was probably another one which appeared at a similar time.
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heart, and I remember very well when I once could read  and began to learn by heart that I got my lessons so well that I frequently had my place shifted above half a dozen boys, so  that I soon became the head boy, when my place was close to the Rector’s chair, and he liked me so well that he persuaded my father to let me remain another year above the usual time, which is 14 years; when the boys are near that age they are confirmed, generally at Easter and have done schooling.[26]  When the boys leave school for good they take leave of the Rector, and when I took leave he said “Well, do thou now what I have told thee,” which overcame me so that I hastened as quick as I could out of the house and [p.9] hid in a corner and cried.

When I came to England, I was in my 21st year, so that I must have been five years at Coppenbrügge, from the year of my leaving school ’till I came to England. I remember very well that these five years many times hung very heavy upon one, for when my brothers enjoyed the company of their playfellows, boys and girls, I could not find anyone as a companion. My chief employment and enjoyment was to get new music, go to the paper mills at Lauenstein (about 4 English miles from Coppenbrügge), buy paper, go home and rule it, and then sit down to copy the music.

But I often (perhaps once or twice a year) went to my Uncle Herschel at Hanover, which was  to me a compensation for every other privation. For the sight of the town of Hanover and, chiefly of my grandmother and uncles, had such a charm for me like a paradise; for there are such beautiful walks, gardens, particularly those of Herrenhausen and Monbrillant,[27] that with them, and the genteel company into which I sometimes came, it could hardly be otherwise

[26] It was (and often still is) the done thing for the whole class to have weekly confirmation classes together for a two-year period. The age of fourteen was the latest at which the whole year could be confirmed together, as most pupils would leave school at that stage. (Cf. Anna Herschel’s concern about Dietrich, and insistence he return to Germany in order to be confirmed. Hoskin, Caroline Herschel’s Autobiographies, pp.43, 45)
[27] George I’s palace, gardens and estate were at Herrenhausen. (The gardens are still there today.) The garden of Montbrillant (near Herrenhausen) does not exist any longer. The King of Hanover built his palace there in the mid-nineteenth century, and it is now the main building of the University of Hanover.
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when I returned to Coppenbrügge, but to be exceedingly dull and melancholy.

I and some of my brothers went likewise sometimes to a musical friend, Lindenberg,[28] at Bodenwerder, (about eight miles from Coppenbrügge), and spent some days there. The town lays [lies] close to the [p.10] river Weser, in an interesting situation, and the inhabitants are exceedingly hospitable, friendly, and creditable, and my father coming from there, and some of his sisters residing there, I found myself in a manner quite at home among them; for everyone knew the Griesbachs.  Bodenwerder is a trading town; the trade is carried on by water to Bremen (Bremen imports from London) and a great many of the common tradesmen of the town attend the fairs with their goods.

I used likewise, during the above five years, to go to Hameln to assist the town musician when the burghers had meetings on public occasions at which they have music. Once I assisted him at the university at Rinteln, when there was a grand day of the university, such as there are at times at Oxford and Cambridge. I remember I was present at the Latin speeches, which I found very dull and tedious because I could not understand them. In the evening we were placed in a tent in the market place. Of tents there were a great many erected and in the centre was a stage erected for the students and company to dance. On the opposite side of us was a band of musicians of Prague (a great town of Bohemia). We and they played by turns. They having a double bass and I [p.11] believe a harp too, their music pleased me very much and particularly their minuets, so I procured a pencil and paper and wrote down one of their minuets, and two more, and then we played them after them, to the great delight of Mr Berg (the town musician of Hameln, our leader) and all our band.

During the above five mentioned years, I had likewise the management of our two gardens. I took care only to direct, to sow and rake; the digging fell to the lot of my brothers, or some person engaged for that purpose. To make the garden look handsome (N.B. the best and nearest to the town) I resolved to sow and plant everything on the same beds, as my father had done the year before. But how was I chagrined to find everything prosper very badly, owing chiefly to my

[28] The mayor of Bodenwerder between the years 1774 and 1790 was named Friedrich Ludwig Lindenberg, but it is not known if he was the ‘musical friend’ George refers to here.
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ignorance of the matter that the seeds want shifting of ground. This garden was very large which we rented of somebody; the other was small, but belonged to my father, or myself, as town musician.[29]

My poor father died in January 1772  31st January 1773/, on the 30th, I believe, and I must own that this sad catastrophe threw me in such a way, that I felt as if the whole world was lost to me. He died I believe in his 42nd or 43rd year.[30] And at night, on the same day that he died, the watchman at ten o’clock at night stopped at the door [p.12] of our house and sung a hymn which I very well knew. The beginning is “Jesu meine Zuversicht”; in English “Jesu, my reliance”.[31] Between my mother’s bedroom and mine there was but a thin partition. So my mother (O! this dear Mother) she called to me,   “George, do you hear that?”  I answered “Yes.” The voice of the watchman (Pollman was his name, and I knew him familiarly) and the words of the hymn had such an effect upon me, that to this day when I see the hymn in my German choral book, I am not able to play it once through (it is at page 88 in the German choral book).

I think it now time to speak of my coming to England, which,

if I can but forget the above melancholy narrative, is to my feeling of such a sublime nature that it seems to me that the hand of providence directed it. Myself and [my] brothers being as it were, mere orphans, very little provided for, and hardly anything before us but misery, there comes a letter to my mother (about 12 or 6 months before I came away) of my Uncle Jacob Herschel, saying there was a man come to Hanover with a commission from the King (George the Third), to engage a band of musicians (a military band) and that he thought it

[29] George seems to have been very ‘sensitive’ to gardens and aware of the growing seasons, and refers to them a number of times in his memoirs (see also pages 4, 9 and 30 of the manuscript). This might have been a family interest going back to his Herschel grandfather’s upbringing as a gardener. Gardens were no doubt an important source of fresh foodstuffs. In 1828 Caroline sent seeds from Hanover to Henry Griesbach in Windsor by means of the ‘King’s packet’, which was dispatched twice a week. BL ‘Correspondence of Caroline Herschel’: Egerton 3761, f.46
[30] George’s father died on 31 January ‘an der Gizinger Krankheit’ (of Gizinger disease). He was buried on 3 February 1773. He was forty-two years old.
[31] A night watchman was on duty only during the hours of darkness, during which he had special calls and particular songs that he would sing at certain times on the hour. For example, at 10 o’clock he would sing a song about the Ten Commandments; at midnight about the twelve apostles; at 3am about the Holy Trinity etc. He clearly chose an appropriate hymn to sing for the Griesbachs from the section in the Lutheran hymnbook on ‘Death and Eternal Life’.
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would be a good thing for me to be engaged in it; that he would see to engage me [p.13] if she would desire of me to have courage. When my mother told me this, I cried out, “Mama! I have courage.” It seemed now from this time as if I was made a great many pounds weight lighter! How could it be otherwise when I was to go to the King of England?! And likewise to that country where I had an uncle (Sir William Herschel) who a short time ago had visited us at Coppenbrügge and whom we all admired so much for his fine appearance and behaviour and creditableness charitableness/ ! The letter must have come in 1777, and towards April 1778 came a letter saying that I was engaged and was to come to Hanover to be ready to depart with the rest when everything was prepared.

I believe I left Coppenbrügge the 1st or 2nd or perhaps the 2nd week in April 1778, on foot, with a man who carried my trunk to Springe, about 6 or 7 miles from Coppenbrügge. From there I went with the stage wagon to Hanover. Here I was engaged with the rest in the King’s name by General Fritag,[32] who gave me and the rest each a ducat as earnest,[33] and from that day our salary was reckoned which was 36 guineas a year; half a guinea board wages a week when we should be at Kew or Windsor – besides scarlet clothing and a hat a year.[34]

On our journey from Hanover to London we were under the care of one of the [p.14] King’s pages, a Mr Ernest,[35] who had been in Hanover to learn the German language. He ordered and paid for everything we wanted, and when we arrived at Zell Celle/ in the afternoon about 4 or 5 o’clock we alighted at one of the finest inns. I could not tell what was to be going forward, and had my eyes upon him, the landlady, waiters and others being all about us. I admired his cool and dry manner when he said to the landlady: “Will you make coffee?” She and the rest directly left us to execute his order, and, as

[32] ‘General Fritag’ is probably General Heinrich Wilhelm v. Freytag (1720 -1798), a Hanoverian officer and close confidant of George III’s.
[33] A ducat was the greatest denomination of German coinage. It was a solid gold coin that weighed 3.5 gms, so it was worth having. I am indebted to Adrian Popescu for this information.
[34] It was also possible for the bandsmen to be paid £5 per annum in lieu of a new uniform. RA ‘Payments by the Groom of the Stole’: Add 17/28
[35] This was possibly George E(a)rnest, who was Page of the Backstairs, paid from January 1767 to 15 April 1801, when he was dismissed. J.C. Sainty and R.O. Buckolz, Office-holders: Royal Household 1660 -1837, (Part 1) (London, 1997) pp.17-18
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we had dined off cold provision on the road, the coffee which was to come made me exceedingly comfortable. I don’t think that we went to bed once on our journey ’till we came to Hambro’. Here we lodged in the finest inn called ‘The Roman Emperor’. Here we stayed a whole week and lived like princes. The dinners were truly grand, for we dined with the landlord and landlady, who was a most beautiful woman, and generally some company besides Mr Ernest.

The town of Hambro’ pleased me so much that I think of it with the greatest pleasure. The fine churches and steeples, the shipping, oranges [and] lemons (of which plenty of punch was made in the evenings), the fish market; all these were such new scenes to me that I clearly saw that Hanover could bear no [p.15] comparison to it. After a week’s stay the ship in which we were to go was ready. This was a indifferent and old merchant ship.[36] We were a whole week on the river and laying at Cuxhaven before we got to sea. Laying off Gluckstadt, waiting for the tide, and a boat going on land to this town, I and some others went to see the town. The people (being Danish) were dressed quite different from what I had been accustomed to see: the women in particular, wearing immense round straw hats.[37] I likewise went ashore at Cuxhaven.

The voyage at sea was very tedious, for we were three weeks on board the ship. We were driven a great way to the north, and experienced a violent storm, so that one could not lay lie/ still in bed: then one was rolled on the right side, then on the left. The storm lasted about three days. One day, or perhaps two, no fire could be made, and the waves running as high as houses and castles, very little light came in the ship. But once in particular an immense wave dashed upon the ship and shook it from one end to the other. Here we all screamed as if all was over: the ship was completely under water; all was dark as pitch and the water gushed down into the ship through a trap door which was open, as if it soon would be filled, [p.16] and over our

[36] There was considerable trade between London and Hamburg at the time. Twenty-seven ‘Hamburgh merchants’ are listed in Mortimer’s Universal Director of London in 1763. They exported woollen goods, lead, leather and tin, and imported linens (dowlas and hemp etc.).
[37] Gluckstadt is in Holstein, the historical and cultural region occupying the southern Jutland Peninsula. Holstein was created as a county of the Holy Roman Empire in 1111. It came under a personal union with the Danish king in 1459, and in 1474 was raised to the rank of duchy in the Holy Roman Empire: hence the Danish influence.
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head[s] a terrible trampling of the sailors’ feet. It lasted a good while before it seemed to be above water again – some said prayers, but I expecting to be drowned every moment, and thinking of my mother, whom I now never should see more, it may be easily imagined in what a way I was. Keeping on my bitter lamentations, one of my companions tried to comfort me, at which in a kind of surprise I said: “Is it then still possible that we can be saved?”, to which he answered in the affirmative. “Well,” I said, “if ever I set foot on land then, I will jump up three times,” and to this promise he kept me when we landed at the Tower. We had an East Indian captain as passenger on board, who had a black servant who could speak broken English and German. This man was very good-natured, for as soon as the first tea was made at the abating of the storm, he brought everyone a cup of tea, for we could not stir out of bed, but he being used to the violent motion of a ship, knew how to keep upon his legs, jumping then to the ground floor, then to the sides of the apartment according as the ship rolled. We saw him at Hambro’ before we embarked, so when we were so ill on board and looked so ghastly, he said: “At Hambro’ all charmant Messieurs; on board the ship, all miserabl.” [38]

We landed all safe and sound [p.17] near the Tower on May 26th, 1778. There was a gentleman waiting for us, to conduct us; he took us to a tavern very near there, where the Hambro’ ships’ captains dine, and where we all dined. (The landlord’s name was Werner.)[39] From thence he conducted us to Mr Best, the Hanoverian secretary, in  St James Street.[40] He did not know what to do with us, so the gentleman took us to the instrument maker, Miller, in Dacre Street, Westminster, where we chose our clarionets etc etc.,[41] and then to a public house opposite Mr Miller’s, where we supped and were merry, and where the rest slept.[42] But I slept at Mr Miller’s with his man, who, before we fell

[38] On the life of a black slave, sea voyages, and the danger of lighting a fire on board ship, see one of the many edited editions of the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano. (I am indebted to my cousin, Peter Hogg, for pointing this out to me.)
[39] No victualler’s licence has been found in the name of Werner.
[40] ‘Mr Best’ is probably Georg August Freiherr von Best (1755 -1823), Secretary in the German Chancery. He continued in the job at least until the 1790s, probably until his death.
[41] The fact that George specifically mentions ‘clarionets etc’ confirms that the original intention was that the Band should play wind instruments only.
[42] George Miller (fl. London c1765 -1790) was a rate-payer and, until 1790, documented as resident at 3, Dacre Street; ‘it is possible that he was of German extraction and that he attracted other German immigrants to work with him’. George Astor first worked with him on his arrival in England. He was a woodwind instrument maker and the earliest English clarinets surviving (1770) were made by him. He may have been the same George Miller of 3 Panton Street, Haymarket, in 1811 -14, whose trade card read: ‘G. Miller and Co ... instrument maker to their Majesties. The name Miller is also found in violins of ordinary workmanship. He is not known as a maker of violins and probably was a dealer who stuck his own label in instruments he bought to sell. Waterhouse, New Langwill, p.265; ‘Astor’, ; Henri Poidras, Dictionary of violin makers, (Rouen, 1928) p.145
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asleep, gave me some very good admonitions concerning the bad girls of the town.[43] A like admonition my Uncle Jacob gave me at Hanover, by which I saw so clearly that my ruin would be certain if I acted the contrary, that I have followed his good advice during the 41 years that I now have been in England, it being now that I write this December 30th, 1819.

The next day after my arrival in London we were taken to the Court tailor, and measured for our coats etc.,  and then we were taken to Kew, where the King was. We were taken to the Palace, into the Billiard room – or rather Hall, into which the King [p.18]  soon came; likewise the Queen. The King enquired after everyone by name, for he had our names upon a paper and we were all truly happy on account of his condescending manner. The same afternoon, I believe we were desired to play some military music upon the lawn in Kew Garden when the King and Royal family were at dinner and in the evening about 7 o’clock at tea time, we were desired to come indoors, to try some of Handel’s overtures, concertos and choruses.[44] A few violins were in the Palace, likewise a bass and tenor, and there was a fine chamber organ in the Long Room in which we were to play. I don’t know if Mr Nicolai (one of the Queen’s pages) played the organ, or if it was Heneberg, one of our band, but I know Heneberg played very soon afterwards for a few years, when [until] he grew mad,[45] and was sent to Germany. Here he recovered, got married and had a son, whom he wanted to get in our band, about which I had a letter of him,

[43] It is likely that ‘Mr Miller’s man’ was German since he was able to converse with George, who cannot have known English when he first arrived in England. This seems to corroborate what is suggested above.
[44] George III’s preference for the music of Handel amounted to a prejudice, if not an obsession. Handel said of him when he was young: “While that boy lives, my music will never want a protector.” Rohr, The Careers of British Musicians, p.43; Jacob Simon, Handel, (London, c1985) p. 251
[45] This is only an isolated case, but the prevalence of certain types of mental disorder can be an indication that immigrants are finding the adjustment to their new environment difficult. Grauman, ‘Cultural Assimilation’, p.121
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and [he] wanted him to be under my care. I could not get him in the band, but the Duke of Kent would take him in his band, which I wrote him word of, but never had an answer.

We soon received our uniform: plain scarlet coat, waistcoat and breeches, a cocked hat and a sword, all  [p.19] which we wore whenever we stirred out of doors, this being the order. To our great surprise we soon after that had a laced suit, with a cocked hat with a gold lace and the inside of the rim lined with red feathers. When the hats were dealt out to us, I held mine in my hand, but the King said: “Come, put it on”, so I put it on (for he would see how I looked in it). I directly put it on, so the Queen said: “What a large hat for so little a man!” (This she said in German.)

Our music now was every day the same, playing at dinner time before the Palace and in the evenings as before. We had not   played many weeks when I ventured to play an easy concerto on the violin. The King soon came and asked everything about it; among the rest, who had given it me. I said: “My uncle.” “Who is your uncle?”  “Herschel at Hanover.” Here the King left me, and went to tell the Queen whose nephew I was. From this time it seemed to me that the King loved me, and which he has shown in so many instances afterwards. Uncle Jacob Herschel had been several times in England and played to the King, who did not seem to like his style of playing, being so very modern.[46] But by what Prince Charles (the Queen’s brother, then resident and Governor of Hanover) [p.20] must have told the King of Herschel, and Herschel being one of the King’s musicians at Hanover, I am confident the king had an affection for him.

Having brought several concertos and other music with me from Germany, it was not long before I produced another concerto. But I must now first mention that the Queen had a chamber band consisting of Mr Bach,[47] Abel,[48] Nicolai,[49] who once a week on Thursdays came to play in the evening to the Queen, assisted by Mr William Cramer,[50] the

[46] On a visit to England in 1769 Jacob had dedicated a set of sonatas to the Queen, after which he was duly summoned to Court and his annual salary was increased by 100 thalers. Hoskin, The Herschel Partnership, p.22
[47] Johann Christian Bach (1735 -1782)
[48] Carl Friedrich Abel (1723 -1787)
[49] Fredrick Nicolai (c.1728 - 1809)
[50] Wilhelm Cramer (1746 -1799)
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great violin player, and father of the present  A. and F. Cramers.[51] This Mr Cramer was such a good and beloved man, and played so heavenly, that at this moment I revere him as I did at the first time I got acquainted with him. I could not help expressing sometimes the wish to have lessons of him. I could not help expressing this to one of my companions, whose name was Reik, an old man, who played the bassoon, and who once called at my father’s at Coppenbrügge in his travels.[52] This man, knowing my wish, told the King one day when he was talking to him that it would be of great service to me to have some lessons of Mr Cramer. The King, quite glad to hear it, got Mr Cramer to be ready to give me lessons twice or three times the next winter, when I should be in town, and these [p.21] lessons were continued for several winters. Mr Cramer taught me first how to hold the violin more properly than I did before, and the first  piece was one of his solos, No 1, which, when I could do it well, I performed at Court to  great satisfaction. He afterwards gave me his concertos one after the other (7 or 8 in number) which I copied, and, after his instruction, performed to the great satisfaction of the King. I played some of them, at times,  I may say, during 25 years.

When I had been some months in the band, I wished very much to have some of my brothers with me. I accordingly advised my mother through a letter to let Henry go to Hanover to take lessons on the violoncello of Mr Ehrhard, one of the King’s orchestra at Hanover.[53] This was done accordingly. Towards the end of my first year in England it so happened that our violoncellist gave himself up to a very bad way of life, spending his time in bad company and public houses, so that he came not home once all night as I believe, his sword being

[51] It is not clear why George uses the initial ‘A’ here. Wilhelm’s eldest son was Johann Baptist (1771 -1858); his second Franz (1772 - 1848).
[52] Christian Reich, the bassoonist, was a member of the Royal Society of Musicians from 1751 and is listed in Mortimer’s Universal Director as a teacher of the bassoon (of Great Pultney Street) in 1763 . He was probably a 1st or 2nd generation German migrant himself.
Matthews, in Members of the Royal Society of Musicians 1738 -1984, (p.121) and H.C. Robbins Landon in Handel and his world, (p.273) conjecture that Reich the bassoonist was the ‘Mr Reich, Secretary for the affairs of Hanover’ who was left £200 in Handel’s will. This is probably not correct. It is far more likely that Handel’s legatee was Gerhard Andreas von Reiche (1691 -1770), who, like his father before him, was Secretary to the German Chancery. (This was a London-based job.) The German Chancery was in some ways the equivalent of a foreign embassy.
[53] A Heinrich Christoph Erhardt is listed as one of the members of the Court orchestra in Hanover (‘Kammer- und Hofmusiker’) in 1779. He may have been Henry’s violoncello teacher.
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found and perhaps some part of his dress somewhere near the Thames. The circumstances got to the ears of General Fritag and thence to the King, upon which this Mr K. (the eldest brother of Mr C. K.[54]) was sent to Germany [p.22] where he soon after died. So I proposed my brother Henry Justus Heinrich Christian / to the King in his stead as violoncellist. My wish was readily granted and I had the satisfaction of seeing him in England (at Windsor) as expeditiously as possible.[55] Of Charles Carl Friedrich Ludwig/, my next brother, I could not think, as he was in my place at Coppenbrügge.

I afterwards got over Frederick Johann Friedrich Alexander/ and after that William.[56] My brother William Johann William/, was a mere boy, only half as tall as I, when he came. But I went to Hanover to recover my health after a severe illness, when I had been in England near ten years, and it was soon after this that I got William over.[57]

My mother wishing to be at Hanover again had sometime before this given up Coppenbrügge (for the place of town musician at Coppenbrügge was given to her at the death of my father, on condition that her sons should do the duty), so she got Charles engaged in the band of the Foot-Guards at Hanover. His pay and what we sent to her quarterly kept her very well.[58] Charles being now left by all his brothers began to wish to come to us, and we succeeded in our application to the King, who seemed to sympathise with him, and he soon was here 12 October 1788 /.

The lessons which I had had of Mr Cramer [p.23] making such an improvement in my playing, the King had lessons given to my brother Henry on the violoncello by Mr Crosdill,[59] and to Charles Kelner[60] on the oboe by Mr Fisher.[61] Both these last mentioned performers [Crosdill and Fischer] often played at Court on grand occasions when

[54] ‘C.K.’ is likely to be J. Christian W. Kellner, the oboist.
[55] Henry Griesbach arrived in England c1780.
[56] Frederick arrived by 1784.
[57] William arrived c1785. It probably was not ten years after George’s arrival, but after his trip to Hanover in 1785 (see page 30 of manuscript).
[58] The Griesbach brothers may have sent money quarterly to their mother in Hanover via the ‘King’s packet’. Caroline’s letters sometimes refer to ‘business’ being transferred in that way.
[59] John Crosdill (c1751 - 1825)
[60] George is believed to be referring again to J. Christian W. Kellner here. Why he calls him ‘Charles’ is a mystery.
[61] Johann Christian Fischer (1733 - 1800)
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Messrs Bach, Abel etc were there, and Mr Fisher was, after sometime, I believe, regularly engaged to the Queen like Mr Bach and Abel. My brother Frederick was by the King’s desire to learn oboe, and was accordingly put under Mr Fisher. He made such rapid improvement that I am sure from what I have heard tell the King, that he [Fischer] was jealous of him and he [Frederick] is now the first oboe player in the kingdom.[62]

The Queen’s Chamber Band attended regularly twice a week during the winters when the Royal family resided in town, this was on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which we called ‘Grand Concert Nights’ (for our band attended regularly every night, winter and summer above 25 years ’till the King’s illness) 1804?/.[63] The above named performers attended ’till they died, of which Mr Bach was the first,[64] then Abel,[65] then Cramer,[66] then Fisher,[67] then Nicolai.[68] Mr Papendick was likewise belonging to it, who is still living.[69] Our band being now so numerous [p.24] by the addition of my brothers, and some others (being in all about 20) and so much improved, we performed without the above

[62] It was from the first decade of the nineteenth century (after Fischer’s death) that Frederick Griesbach became well known as a hautboy (oboe) player. An article in The Harmonicon for 1830 suggested that he ‘was probably the last of the outstanding players in England to use the old broad fishtail reed’, and praised him for his clear and powerful tone. (The term ‘hautboy’ is an anglicization of the French haut bois, meaning ‘high-wood’ instrument.) Quoted in Highfill, Biographical Dictionary 6,p.360; Scholes, The Oxford Companion to Music, p.624
[63] The King suffered from porphyria, which afflicted him in later life. Naturally, this was not only extremely distressing for his family, but also for those at Court. Fanny Burney (daughter of Charles Burney, and Assistant Keeper of the Wardrobe to Queen Charlotte) described the scene on one occasion: ‘ There was not a dry eye in the house. The footmen, the house-maids, the porters, the sentinels - all cried bitterly as they looked on.’ Quoted in Hibbert, The Court at Windsor, p.132. The members of the Queen’s Private Band cannot have been unaffected.
[64] J.C. Bach died on 1 Jan 1782.
[65] C.F. Abel died on 20 June 1787.
[66] W. Cramer died on 5 Oct 1799.
[67] J.C. Fischer died on 29 April 1800. During the last decade of his life, Fischer’s skills were not what they had been. Susan Burney wrote in 1790: ‘I was delighted to hear Fischer, who was very sweet, tho’ alas, I perceive his powers decay - his breath is short, & his fingers are losing the spring of youth - but in a pastoral pathetic movement he is still all that can be wished.’ Quoted in Woodfield, Salomon and the Burneys, (draft copy) p.136
[68] F. Nicolai died on 16 May 1809.
[69] Christopher Papendiek lived until c.1826. His will was proved 4 March 1826. (Highfill’s Biographical Dictionary is in error when it states that George Papendiek was the husband of the Mrs Papendiek whose journal was published. Christopher was her husband, and George was one of Christopher’s younger brothers. Highfill, Biographical Dictionary 11, p.192; Broughton, Court and Private Life, Vol. 1, pp.168,180-181,196, Vol. 2, p.157)
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gentlemen, so as they died some omission here/[70]

After I had been a few years in England I had likewise instruction of Mr Abel in thorough bass[71] and composition at the King’s expense. Our salary was likewise raised, once or twice, and we began remaining at Windsor very soon every year ’till January which increased our pay by the 1/2 guinea board wages a week. Among those who were added to our band was an oboe player from the band of the Horse Guards at Hanover. When he had been here but a few years he asked leave to play at the Opera, (or at some concert) during the season once a week. He got no leave, but went and played without. Upon which we were all summoned before General Fritag, and asked everyone in particular, if we would remain? (I rather think that it must have been about this time that every sort of provision had got a great deal dearer than they were before, which made us rather discontented.) However, when everything was settled, viz. that we would remain, Mr Suck (the oboe player) was dismissed from the band,[72] and I received the promise of the first vacancy in the orchestra at Hanover, and C.K.  the second one.[73]

[p.25] After a year or so, no vacancy taking place, I asked for some addition to my pay ’till I should receive the Hanoverian salary; this was granted to me. It was rather remarkable that he who had got me in England (my Uncle Jacob Herschel) should by his death occasion the first vacancy there.[74] The musicians when first engaged there receive only 100 dollars[75] from the salary of the one who dies; the rest is

[70] Presumably he intended to say something like: ‘we were able to carry on without them and without others having to take their place’.
[71] ‘Thorough Bass’ or ‘Figured Bass’ is the shorthand of harmony that came into use at the opening of the seventeenth century. Knowledge of it was necessary for music which had as its accompaniment a mere line of bass notes with a certain number of figures under or over them, from which the player could tell what chords the composer intended to be used, and could construct his own accompaniment. Scholes, The Oxford Companion to Music, p.317
[72] Charles Jacob Suck was an outstanding oboist, a pupil of Fischer’s, and played with Fischer and Kellner as a trio at a number of concerts in London and Bath in the 1780s. For more information about his life, see Foster’s unpublished MMus dissertation: ‘A critical edition of the symphony in D by Charles J.Suck’ (2003).
[73] It would appear here that George thought he would like to return to Hanover to work, should a vacancy arise, and that one other bandsman (probably Christian Kellner) did too.
[74] It is odd that George does not comment on the manner of his uncle’s death: Jacob Herschel was found strangled in the countryside in front of the gates of Hanover on 23 June 1792. Sievers, Hannoversche Musikgeschichte, p.365
[75] By ‘dollars’ he means thalers (the origin of the term ‘dollar’).
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divided among the elder ones to increase their pay.[76] Mine was some years after increased to 200 dollars a year, which is about £34 odd a year and this I have now had I may say near 30 years. I have two or three other improvements in my income to mention. One of them took place directly after the grand musical performances at Westminster Abbey in commemoration of Handel in the year 1784, after which the King went to the Ancient Concert (where he had not gone before) and he got us all engaged there,[77] which was 12 guineas in my pocket a year, and when I afterwards was the first of the 2nd violins,[78] I had 24 guineas, which I had some years ’till I gave it up, being constantly at Windsor and having a good deal of teaching the pianoforte.[79] (For playing at Westminster Abbey, we were likewise paid.) Another great help to me was teaching [p.26] the pianoforte and accompanying some ladies, of which more soon.

Another improvement took place in January 1815 when Her late Majesty increased all our pay, but mine more by £60 above the rest, appointing me ‘Master of the Band’. On her death in 1818, our pay was confirmed to us by the Prince Regent.[80] As to having practised the pianoforte in my youth at Coppenbrügge, it has been quite accomplished what my father said when he proposed my learning it, viz: “that it might prove of use to me”. Being so much taken up with practising the violin and playing several times at concerts in every week at Court, I never thought of giving lessons on the pianoforte, it being only a secondary instrument of mine. A lady (a Mrs Douglas) who lived next to me in Blakeneys Court[81] applied to me in 1794 to give her daughter lessons. I was rather diffident, but she said she was sure

[76] It seems that once George had received an increase in pay he did not wish to take up the vacancy that arose in the Court Band in Hanover.
[77] Three of the Griesbach brothers played at the Handel Commemoration Concerts in 1784: George, Henry and Frederick. The performances were on 26, 27, 29 May, 3 and 5 June. Frederick had recently arrived in England, and celebrated his fifteenth birthday on the 2nd of June!
[78] In Figure 7 of the thesis, the figures listed after the instruments show the positions or ranking of the Griesbachs in the orchestra at the Concerts of Antient Music.
[79] George gave up playing at the Concerts of Antient Music in 1807, which may indicate that, at least in the Windsor area, the demand for teachers of the pianoforte was considerable quite early on in the century.
[80] George, Prince of Wales (son of George III), later Prince Regent, then King George IV. This fact would indicate that the Band was not disbanded until the death of the King in 1820.
[81] Blakeneys Court is off the High Street in Windsor. In Robson’s Directory of 1838 there is a ‘Ladies School’ listed in Blakeney Court. The head was ‘M.A. Griesbach’. This must have been a relative.
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I could do it, so I consented. This then was an increase of 5 shillings a week to me, for she had but one lesson a week.[82] But Mrs or Miss Douglas mentioned me to some other ladies and I had an increase of one or two more and they kept on increasing so that it never was [p.27] interrupted. The first school I got was in 1810, which was the Misses Cristalls’ at Birchets Green. There were a dozen scholars at first, and it was as good as £50 a year, but they took in fewer boarders after two or three years, when it was only half so good profitable. In 1812 I got Miss Humphrey’s school when after a few years there were no scholars to learn music, so that discontinued. In 1816 I got Miss Sharman’s school, where there were about six to eight scholars.[83] In  the same year I got Misses Haynes’ school at Cherlsey, which is the best.[84]

I have made out a list of all the ladies, my scholars, up to 1818, when the number was 185. Some of them (to be rightly understood) had but few lessons. Some I have had for eight and some for near 10 years. I reckoned once up what I had received of one family where I had four daughters to teach during 9 or 10 years which was something above £300. Among the 185 ladies, I am proud to reckon Princess Amelia, Princess/ Sophia and Princess Charlotte, though those I only accompanied with the violin. At present, January 1820, I have about 34 but most of them being at some schools, it is nothing near 5

[82] Teachers often charged an entrance fee, in addition to the fee per lesson. In general the rates had declined since the early 1780s. G.F.A. Wendeborn wrote in 1785: ‘Those ... who earn part of their livelihood by teaching, have seen formerly, as it is said, better times than at present. I have heard of some receiving a guinea, or half a guinea for a lesson, who now, perhaps, must be content with five shillings.’ Samuel Wesley observed in 1830: ‘ At different periods I myself have received a guinea a lesson, and from some pupils as much as twenty-five shillings; whereas now the prices are so dwindled down that three shillings and half-a crown per lesson are offered and accepted, through the influx of musical pretenders by whom England is now deluged.’ Quoted in Rohr, Careers of British Musicians, p.136; McVeigh, The violinist in London’s concert life, pp.142 - 143
[83] Jane Sharman (b.1790) had a ladies’ boarding school in the High Street, Windsor, and was the sister of Richard, who had a linen draper’s and undertaker’s business also in the High Street. Richard married George’s daughter, Charlotte Elizabeth and was a legatee/trustee named in Henry Griesbach’s will. Jane Sharman later had a boarding school in Datchet. Pigot’s Directory of Berkshire, (1823/24; 1844)
[84] Unfortunately there is little information about small schools like these before the Victorian era. Birchets Green is a hamlet in the parish of Hurley, Berkshire, about eight miles to the North-West of Windsor. The school he refers to in ‘Cherlsey’ was probably in Chertsey, Surrey, which is about eight miles to the South-East of Windsor. This gives an indication as to how far a musician might travel to teach.
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shillings a lesson, else I might have by this time a great sum [p.28] in the bank. I have likewise had during the last 25 years, 41 scholars for the violin, of whom I now have only two. Of the the Duke of Cambridge I have since 1801 (’till he went to Hanover) received several sums for playing duets, trios and quartets with him.[85]

Besides these kindnesses of His late Majesty King George the third already mentioned, I have to mention his getting me in the Royal Society of Musicians out of his own accord, for which he sent me £50. I was in the New Musical Fund before, but he would wished/ that I should be in that of which he was the patron. I being at this time above 40 years old, it cost a great sum to get in and I had above £10 to add to the £50, and I might have had the £10 if I had mentioned it, but it was against my liking to ask.[86] His Majesty made me a present with his own hands of a book concerning the great performances at Westminster Abbey in the year 1784,[87] and another  time a Thorough

[85] Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge (1774 -1850), was one of the three youngest sons of George III, who were educated together at Göttingen University. He was then commissioned in the Hanoverian army, and served in the Low Countries, with his brother Ernest. They experienced all the dangers and fatigues of the campaign, and Adolphus did not return home until 1801, having been absent fifteen years. It was then that George Griesbach had to do with him, and Adolphus became godfather to George’s son, George Adolphus Griesbach, who was born in June of that year.
Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, continued a friend of the extended family. When Caroline returned to Hanover, she sometimes met the Duke of Cambridge at concerts and wrote in 1835: ‘ I was always sure to be noticed by the Duke of Cambridge as his countrywoman (and that is what I want, I will be no Hannoverian!).’ She also wrote in 1837: ‘...the Duke of Cumberland has been this day proclaimed King of Hannover. It makes me feel as if I was doubly separated from England, for your king is now no longer my king. And we lose the Duke of Cambridge who was ever so kind to me wherever he saw me.’ Brooke, King George III, pp.356-357; BL ‘Correspondence of Caroline Herschel’: Egerton 3762,f.8, 21
[86] In 1804 George’s brother, Frederick (who was already a member), wrote to the Royal Society of Musicians to recommend his brother :
‘Gentlemen, I beg leave to recommend my brother, George Griesbach, Musician, as a proper person to be a Member of this Society; it was my brother’s wish to become a Member in the year 1788, but understanding he would not succeede, he became a Member of the New Musical Fund, from which he is going to retire, it being his Majesty’s particular wish he should become a Member of this Society, he has led their Majestys concerts nearly Twenty seven years, teaches the Pianoforte ... and is not likely to become chargeable to this Society.’ In fact George was forty-seven years of age and had to pay a premium of £69. 6 shillings, as well as his annual subscription of £1.2 shillings. George was admitted by ballot in the November of that year. London, Royal Society of Musicians Member’s File: ‘George Ludolph Jacob Griesbach’
[87] This was probably An account of the musical performances in Westminster Abbey, and the Pantheon ... in commemoration of Handel, by Charles Burney (London, 1785)
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Bass book by Fricke.[88]

In the year 1788, His Majesty being then at Cheltenham, [he] resolved to go from thence to the Worcester music meeting and to have our band there to assist at it. So he agreed with one of the directors (I believe in our [p.29] hearing, at Buckingham House) that he would send us there and back at his own expense, and they (the directors) should find us board, lodging and pay us the same as the rest of the orchestra, which was all done accordingly. The King and the Royal family resided at the Bishop’s Palace, and we in a large inn not a great way from it.[89] Here in a day or  two, the King sent for me and he put into my hand as many gilt medals (which had been struck on the occasion) as there were of us, for everyone, one (I have got it still). When I opened the paper, I thought they were gold and looked surprised, so he said: “They are not gold; only for a keepsake”.[90]

I have been likewise with the rest of the band three times to Weymouth, generally from June to October or November. We attended all the watering excursions three to five times in a week, playing on

[88] Philipp Joseph Frick (1740-1798) published a number of theoretical works. George was probably given A Treatise on Thorough Bass, published in London, c1786. ‘Frick, P.J.’ ,
[89] The King’s trip to Cheltenham and the surrounding area for the sake of his health was a great success and thousands flocked to see him. He enjoyed himself enormously and spoke to anyone he met. On one of the King’s rides, he overtook a farmer driving sheep, and typically fell into conversation.
‘His Majesty rode with him a quarter of an hour, conversing upon the value and properties of the land, the prices of sheep and cattle ... the farmer grown familiar asked the gentleman, as he thought, if he had seen the King; and being answered in the affirmative, the farmer said “Our neighbours say he’s a good sort of man, but dresses very plain.” “Aye” said his Majesty, “as plain as you see me now,” and rode on.’ Quoted in John Clarke, The Life and Times of George III, pp.133 -134
In Worcester the Royal Family stayed at the Bishop’s Palace with their old friend, Bishop Hurd, who was quite overcome to be so honoured. For the Royal visit, the nave of the Cathedral was handsomely fitted up for the occasion. A gallery for the Royal family was erected and spread with a rich Worcester carpet, lined and faced with crimson silk, and shaded with a lofty canopy of the same material and surmounted with a crown. The orchestra was at the opposite end of the nave. It was recorded: ‘The King made available the powerful support of his own private band and the choirs were augmented with choirs from Oxford and London and a special chorus of female singers from the north of England.’ The concerts were uncommonly crowded and over two thousand people attended the performance of The Messiah .
Broughton, Court and Private Life, I, pp.310 - 312; Anthony Boden, Three Choirs (1992) p. 34; Lysons, Origin and progress of the meeting of the Three Choirs, pp.67-69
[90] George must be referring to the medals struck especially to commemorate the Royal visit to Worcester and the recovery of the King. On one side was inscribed: ‘God save the King! G III, 1788’. On the other: ‘When we forget him, May God forget us!’ Lysons, Origin and Progress, p. 67; Clarke, John, The Life and Times of George III, (London, 1972), p.143
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deck when he [the King] came on board, when the yachts, frigates and cutters fired royal salutes. Then [we] played another ’till our dinner time; then again when the Royal Family dined. Sometimes we had concert music in the cabin.[91] He [the King] went 3 times a week to the Play and once treated all the band. On Sunday evenings we played as usual sacred music[92] at Gloucester Lodge and once or more times [he]

[91] Abigail Gawthern of Nottingham described how she saw the Royal family when she was on a visit to Weymouth in July,1805:
‘13th: The dear good and gracious king arrived at five o’clock this morning, the queen and princesses some time after; they retired to rest soon after for a few hours; his Majesty immediately went into a warm sea bath on his arrival; at 10 o’clock he was at the camp to view the troops; his Majesty came past our lodgings to the pier before dinner, and after at the came again a feu de joie was fired and every ship fired a royal salute; it was beyond all description grand, it affected me very much as well as my son; it must be like an engagement.
14th: Sunday, the royal family all were at church; afterwards they, king and princesses, walked down the esplanade to the pier, the queen did not walk. Between 7 and 8 o’clock the royal family all walked on the esplanade and after to the rooms, where we went and highly gratified we were at seeing them enter, the queen’s German band playing ‘God Save the King’; a part of the room enclosed by a silk cord where the royal family enter, and every body who has been introduced stand within the cord to converse with them, other people stand on the outside the cord, and have an opportunity of hearing the conversation; the band keeps playing during the royal family stay in the room, which in general is an hour; his; his Majesty’s eyes appear very indifferent, always wore a green shade over them; he seemed in good spirits, talks a great deal ... The royal family did not remain so long as usual, as the king’s eyes were so indifferent; we stayed tea and walked about the room for some time after they left, the band playing all the time.
15th: St Swithin, and no rain; their Majesties went in their carriage to the pier where they got out and got into a beautiful barge, being seated, Sir Harry Burrard Neale stood the whole of the time behind their Majesties’ back until they arrived at the ‘Royal Sovereign’ yacht, a most superb elegant costly ship, cost £[ ], appears most splendid at the great distance it is seen from shore, all over gold; there were sailors all dressed alike in white, and they struck their oars all in the same moment, had a very pretty effect when their Majesties were in the barge.’
Henstock, The Diary of Abigail Gawthern of Nottingham, pp.116 -117
[92] John Henry Griesbach (1798 - 1875) performed before the King and Queen first at the age of twelve, and the following year was appointed pianist to her Majesty. From then on he played a solo piece for the pianoforte every night at the private concerts. In his unpublished thesis, ‘The Acoustical Laws of Harmony’, he gives a vignette of the Sunday evening concerts of sacred music at Windsor.
‘Queen Charlotte had a little pet dog whose acoustic nerves were highly sensitive; it was the custom at Windsor castle for the Queen’s private band to perform an Oratorio or a selection of Handel’s music every Sunday evening; when the King and Queen passed through the concert room to the drawing room, little Carlo usually ran or gambould [sic] before them, but sometimes walked as steadily and soberly as a courtier dog ought to do: - on certain days the Messiah was always performed by the band, and when the third bar of the Overture was played, the chord of the diminished 7th was such an inflection to the acoustic nerves of poor Carlo that he forgot all propriety of demeanure [sic] and court etiquette and ran about the room with his tail between his legs, howling in a most piteous manner; this so amused the King, that frequently when the Messiah was going to be performed, if his majesty did not see little Carlo on the rug before the fire, he used to call out, where is Carlo; and if the little dog happened to be in the concert room, the King would leave his game of chess, on purpose to see the effects of the vibrations of that chord of the diminished 7th on the sensitive nerves of poor Carlo.’
(From a section entitled: ‘Remarkable instances of the effect of musical sounds on the acoustic nerves of dumb animals’ pp.63 - 64)
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desired me to say what oratorio it [p.30] should be.

In 1785 I procured leave of the King to go to Hanover to visit my mother. I departed in June in a Bremen merchant’s ship and arrived at Hanover July 3rd at 12 at night and saw my brother Charles almost immediately, for the band of the Guards were playing in the street before some house near the post office, but I forbid him saying or awakening my mother that night and slept at the post office. I found her in good health the next morning, as also my uncles Jacob and Dr[93] Herschel. During my stay there which lasted ’till October, I visited Coppenbrügge, which instead of giving me great joy, it seemed to have quite the contrary effect, for many things quite overcame me, such as seeing the Rector Herbst, hearing the organ and singing of hymns etc.[94] At Hanover I played at Court once by the King’s order, and the Court assembled on purpose, for it was not the season of the ordinary concerts. The Duke of York presided.[95] (The peas and beans  came just in season there in July, whereas at Windsor they were in so early that summer that they were most out when I went.)


Here follow now about three or four articles more: [p.31]

First, ‘What eminent musicians I have heard and seen in England’; 2nd, ‘What principal places I have been at, here, in Germany, and in Holland’; 3rd ‘What Sovereigns I have seen’ and lastly ‘A few particulars since the King’s death’.


Mus[i]cians (Ladies)  Madam Mara,[96] Billington,[97] Banti,[98] Madam Bolla,[99]  Catalani,[100]  Madam Fodor,[101]  Camporesi.[102]

[93] He must be referring to his uncle Dietrich Herschel here, as William was at that time in England.
[94] George’s reaction to his homegoing is a classic manifestion of reverse culture shock.
[95] Frederick, Duke of York (1763 -1827)
[96] Gertrud Elisabeth Mara (née Schmeling), (1749 -1833), German soprano singer.
[97] Elizabeth Billington (née Weichsel) (1765 -1818), 2nd generation German immigrant, born in England. Soprano singer.
[98] Brigida Giorgi Banti (1755 -1806), Italian soprano singer. In London 1779 -1780,1794 -1802.
[99] Maria Bolla (fl.1799 -1804 ), Italian Opera singer.
[100] Angelica Catalani (1780 -1849), Italian Opera singer. In London 1806 -1814,1824.
[101] Joséphine Fodor-Mainvielle (1789 -1870), French soprano singer. In London 1816,1818.
[102] Violante Camporese (1785 - ?1839) Italian soprano singer. In London 1817 - 1825.
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(Gentlemen) Lolli,[103] Bach, Abel, Staimetz,[104] Cramer, Schroeter,[105] Clementi,[106] Hummel,[107] Dr Crotch,[108] Wesley.[109]

(Those are some of the principal[s] which I remember.)


The Principal Places I have been in:

In Germany: Hanover, Hameln, Rinteln, Bodenwerder, Zell, Hamburg, Bremen, Osnabrug.

In England:       London, Bath, Bristol, Oxford, Salisbury, Worcester,

Winchester, Southampton, Guildford, Dorchester,  Weymouth, Blandford, Reading, Colechester,        Harwich, Farnham, [p.32] Gravesend, Deptford, Woolwich, Henley, Kingston, Richmond, Newport (Isle of Wight) Cowes and Yarmouth Do, Lymington.

In Holland: (on my way back to England with the Hanoverian messenger)

Deventer, Forthuisen, Utrecht, Leyden, The Hague, Helvontsluys.

The Sovereigns: Prince Charles of Hanover; afterwards Duke of Mecklinburg Strelitz

The Duke of Sax-Gotha

The reigning Prince of Stettin and his wife

The ArchDuke of Milan

The Duke of Wirtenberg (afterwards king of)

The Stadtholder (or Prince of Orange) and family

[103] Antonio Lolli (1725 -1812), Italian violinist and composer.
[104] Carl Philipp Stamitz (1745 -1801), German violinist, violist and composer. In London 1777 - 1779.
[105] Johann Samuel Schröter (c.1752 -1788), harpsichordist, pianist, singer, composer and teacher - of German origin.
[106] Muzio Clementi (1752 -1832), Composer, keyboard player and teacher, music publisher and piano manufacturer - of Italian birth.
[107] Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778 -1837), Austrian pianist, composer, teacher and conductor.
[108] William Crotch (1775 -1847), English composer, organist, theorist and painter.
[109] George must be referring here to Samuel Wesley, (1766 -1837), English organist, violinist, and conductor. He was son of Rev. Charles Wesley, the Methodist hymnwriter and nephew of the evangelist, John. George would also have known his brother, Charles (1757 -1834), also an outstanding musician, who was often at Windsor Castle and ‘a favourite with George III’. Gill, Charles Wesley, p.193
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The King of/ Prussia and sons

The Emperor Alexander of Russia


I here add some eminent statesmen and warriors:

Lord Thurlow, Mr Pitt, Mr Fox, [p.33] The Duke of Portland, The Lord Mayor of London (Sir Carr Glyn) and Lady Mayoress and daughter, at the Mansion House, Lord Howe, Lord Nelson, Duke of Wellington.


The particulars since the King’s death I find to be of too painful a nature, therefore [I] shall excuse myself.[110]


I married in the year 1786,[111] on October 31st, and my children now alive[112]  are:

Zipporah Sophia – born  September 12th,  1787[113]

Caroline Amelia – June 13th, 1791

Frances Mary – September 27th,   1793

Charlotte Elizabeth – February 26th, 1797[114]

George Adolphus -  June 4th, 1801[115]

Elizabeth Ann – December 23rd, 1803[116]

Alexander William – March 9th , 1807 [117]

( Finished   -   December 26th, 1820 )

[110] He may have been referring here to the disbanding of the Queen’s Private Band.
[111] George married Mary Wright Smith at Windsor. Since he is believed to have married a pupil of his, the year of his marriage indicates that he must have been teaching from early on in his stay in England. (This was probably true of other members of the Band too.)
[112] There were nine children in all. Two children of his had died young: Mary Anna (1788 - 1815) and George Theodor (1797 -1800).
[113] Sophia wrote to Caroline in 1836 telling her news of the family. Sophia had worked for many years for Lord and Lady Harcourt, but they had by then died and left her £3,000. She was now living in her brother Alexander William’s vicarage home, looking after her invalid mother. The two other unmarried sisters, Amelia and Fanny, were also living there.
BL letter Sophia Griesbach to Caroline Herschel (23 Nov 1836): Egerton 3762, f.203 - 204v
[114] Charlotte married Richard Sharman of Windsor on 2 Feb 1828.
[115] Sophia told Caroline in 1836: ‘ Adolphus is in London much engaged in teaching and playing & he is a very fine player on the violin - but he is not so good a manager of his affairs as could be wished & causes us some anxiety ...[but] he is a most affectionate son and brother.’
[116] Elizabeth married George Waterhouse, Curator of the Zoological Museum in London, a peat entomologist, in c1834.
[117] Alexander William Griesbach was a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1827 to 1832. He then became curate, and later vicar, of Westow, in East Yorkshire. He too was an entomologist.
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