Dr Leigh Wetherall-Dickson

Crim. Con; A Fashionable and most Protestant Vice


In 1812 a novel entitled Crim Con: a Novel Founded on Facts was published and was successful enough to run into at least two editions. The title situates the novel alongside other fashionable ‘publications offering predominantly sexual gossip about the rich and famous’ (Morris). However, this novel of doubtful literary merit was no mere muck-raking expose of the great and the not so good, but an assertion that the wide-spread practice of adultery amongst the fashionable elite was due, in large part, to Protestant louche-ness as epitomised by the Prince Regent and apparently endorsed by the judicial system. This paper will examine of the facts upon which the novel is founded, namely the Prince Regent’s marriage to the Catholic Maria Fitzherbert in relation to the author’s overt claims that only the granting of full citizenship to Catholics will curb such flagrant disavowal of the sacred covenant as only they are guided by a strict adherence to a higher moral authority. 


Leigh Wetherall Dickson is an Associate Professor of English Literature at Northumbria University. Her first degree was a BA in English Studies at Sheffield Hallam, followed by a PhD. In December 2006 I first joined Northumbria as the Leverhulme Research Associate for the three-year project ‘Before Depression: Representation and Culture of the English Malady, 1660-1800’, and have since become a full-time lecturer in Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century English Literature at Northumbria.