Harriot Clinton and Elizabeth Carter diaries  1771-1795
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Biographical/Historical Note

Harriot (ca. 1746-1772) and Elizabeth (1741-1817) Carter were the daughters of Thomas Carter, Esq. Harriot married Sir Henry Clinton, a prominent British military figure, in February 1767 at St. George Parish in London. At the time of her death in 1772, they had at least four children: Augusta (1765-1852), William Henry (1769-1846), Henry (1771-1829), and Harriot (1772-1812). Before their marriage, they may have had an additional child, Frederick, who died in 1774.

Upon Harriot's death, Elizabeth and her sister Martha Carter (ca. 1745-1783) commenced overseeing the Clinton household and raising the children. Elizabeth also managed some of Henry Clinton's finances and papers for much of the period between 1775-1782, during which he served as a leading British officer and eventually commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America. Thomas Carter, Elizabeth and Martha's father, was part of the household until his death in 1782. For most of the 1770s and 1780s, Elizabeth Carter and the rest of the Clinton household split their time between the village of Weybridge in Surrey, a residence in London, and Bath. In later years, they also spent considerable time in Brighton, Cheltenham, and at Orwell Park, near Ipswich in Suffolk.

The Clinton boys each attended Eton in the 1780s before pursuing careers in the military. Both became professional soldiers and eventually served as members of Parliament. Elizabeth Carter's diary traces their education and some of their early military service, including William's designation as Groom of the Bed Chamber to the Duke of Gloucester (King George III's younger brother Prince William Henry) in March 1794 and promotion to lieutenant colonel in January 1795, as well as Henry's appointment as aide-de-camp to the Duke of York (Prince Frederick, the second son of King George III) in February 1793 and his wounding in Flanders in May 1794. William Henry Clinton married Louisa Dorothea Holroyd in 1797, and Henry wed Susan Charteris in December 1799. Both women were members of aristocratic families, with whom the Clinton household had long-standing relationships.

The two Clinton girls were also educated, mostly by private instructors at their home. Augusta Clinton eloped with Henry Dawkins (1765-1852), the son of a prominent Jamaica landholder, in 1788. Their first child, Henry, was born in November of that year. They eventually had six sons and four daughters and lived at Over Norton Park in Oxfordshire. In 1799, Harriot Clinton married Henry Chester, a general in the British military.