Biography of Henrietta Rouviere Mosse (?1770–?1835)
There is very little known about Henrietta Rouviere Mosse and it has been difficult to find information about her. The most information that I have found has been from her personal letters to the Royal Literary Fund, but it must not be forgotten that any information from these letters is likely to be exaggerated as they were used in order to procure funding for her writing. Henrietta Rouviere was born in Ireland and began writing for Minerva when she moved to London. Her first novel Lussington Abbey was published anonymously in 1804, and following its success she published her second novel Heirs Of Villeroy in 1806 under her own name. She began research in the British Museum for her third novel, A Peep At Our Ancestors, which was set in the twelfth century, but her mother’s illness delayed publication until 1807.
The Feminist Companion to Literature in English states that Henrietta Rouviere married businessman Isaac Mosse by 1812 when she published Arrivals From India, but Summers’ A Gothic Bibliography states that she married him around 1815 or 1816. However, Mosse makes the date that she married clear in a letter to the Royal Literary Fund dated December 22nd 1824, when she says that they have been married ‘nearly twenty years’ (Royal Literary Fund File 532), suggesting that the date Summers gives is more accurate.
According to Mosse’s letters Isaac Mosse had been successful in business but by 1822 was reduced to ‘a second childhood’ (RLF File 532) by paralytic strokes, and so her writing became their support. In total, Henrietta Rouviere Mosse has thirty-nine letters on file in the Royal Literary Fund Archive, twenty-three of which were written by her either asking for financial assistance or acknowledging assistance. In a letter dated 1830, a year after her last novel The Blandfords was written, she was planning a short work on ‘Distresses of Women’, but she comments that ‘authorship has become a very doubtful source for existence’ (RLF File 532). This paper was never published and Henrietta Rouviere Mosse died ‘of a paralytic attack…in a miserable attic’ (RLF File 532) in 1835(?). Her doctor applied on her behalf to the Royal Literary Fund for help with her funeral expenses, and although they had made her many payments during her lifetime, this request was denied.