Exhibtion Index  Credits   Bryn Mawr College Library    

Teresia Constantia Muilman. An Apology for the Conduct of Mrs. Teresia Constantia Phillips, More Particularly that Part of it which relates to her Marriage with an Eminent Dutch Merchant: The Whole Authenticated by Faithful Copies of His Letters, and of the Settlement which He Made upon Her to Induce Her to Suffer (Without Any Real Opposition on her Part) A Sentence to be Pronounced Against Their Marriage... London: Printed for the author, 1748-4.



Teresia Phillips (1709-1765) was one of the most prominent and notorious courtesans of her day and her autobiography was a scandalous success.  She slept with a surprising number of noblemen, greater and lesser, and was engaged in a string of court cases and prosecutions for debt.  She traveled back and forth between the New World and the Old during her extended career of liaisons, and died in Kingston, Jamaica. 

Her Apology was published serially, some say in an attempt to blackmail one or more of her relatives or previous lovers.  Professional printers and booksellers obviously thought it had a great potential for getting them in trouble, and she was obliged to publish and distribute it herself; she signed the parts as they became available.  The segment exceprted here, "The Amours of Tartufe" is certainly the type of material she might have hoped someone would pay to suppress: a lightly disguised description of a rake with whom she was involved.  She accused him of preferring married women who had access to their husbands' money and who, incidentally, would not be disgraced if they became pregnant.  Phillips began the third volume of her work with a lament: taking over the rhetoric of admonition against sin, she shaped it to a complaint against the public which censures the sinner.

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