BYRON, (Augusta) Ada, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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BYRON, (Augusta) Ada (1815-1852). Countess of Lovelace, Byron's daughter. Mathematician.
Long and closely-written Autograph Letter Signed ('A Ada Byron') to Mrs King, 3 pages 4to with address written and franked by Lord Ilchester, Fordhook, 27 April 1834. A revealing letter, presumably to one of her future in-laws' family, expressing the self doubt and religious scruples of a young lady.

'... I hope that my religion is exerting a practical influence on my coduct, but I am very far from satisfied with myself, nor is it I should imagine at all to be desired that I should. I often feel discouraged by a consciousness of the imperfection of my notions. But I hope I am not deceived myself when I say that I believe I have now a real dread of my own powers of self deception. ... I trouble when I recal [sic] my state of mind this very day last year - believing myself most noble & virtuous, whilst I was made up of deceit & selfishness. ...'

She continues in this vein by suggesting that her feelings towards her mother [who had Ada totally under her control] were not what they should be; gives an account of her reading; expresses her wish to use her ear and voice in the singing of hymns and religious music, thus avoiding 'ordinary music' and the 'exciting tendency of the pursuit & the display it might lead to'; and her resolve to avoid all 'operas, plays, & balls', except perhaps for one royal one.

Ada, Lord Byron's only legitimate child, married William King, eighth Baron King of Ockham at the age of nineteen on 8 July 1835. Her husband became Earl of Lovelace in 1838. She was distinguished for her intelligence and for the work she did in conjunction with Charles Babbage, which included devising what was in effect the first computer algorithm, or program, intended for decoding by machine. Towards the end of her life she became addicted to laudanum and to gambling; a considerable contrast to the pious and rather sanctimonious character of her youth.
[No: 25799]


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