Jean Home - Daughter of Henry Home, Lord Kames

Jean Home

Born ca. 1745

Alias: 

Jean Heron

Biography: 

Daughter of Henry Home, Lord Kames and Agatha Drummond. Married (1761) to Patrick Heron. They divorced in 1772 following her adulterous affair with a young officer. Following this she was exiled to France by her parents who continued to support her financially, although they refused to ever see her again. She continued to receive approx. £90 a year at least until 1782.1 There is no mention of her at all in Lord Woodhouselee's official biography of Henry Home, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the Honourable Henry Home of Kames.

  • 1. On November 29, 1782, Boswell had a long conversation with Lady Kames about Jean, her marriage, and particularly the day when she was sent to France accompanied by a teacher of french, Alexander Drummond who was going there with a daughter. He wrote extensive notes about this conversation, probably in preparation for his planned Life of Lord Kames, which, however, never made it past the preliminary stages. The conversation published is the only known source concerning Jean Home's life following her divorce from Patrick Heron.

Life with Boswell: 

In his Sketch of My Life to Rousseau, Boswell wrote:

"I loved the daughter of a man of the first distinction in Scotland. She married a gentleman of great wealth. She allowed me to see that she love me more than she did her husband. She made no difficulty of granting me all. [...] She said, "I love my husband as a husband, and you as a lover, each in his own sphere. [...] Nature has so made me that I shall never bear children. No one suffers from our loves.".

Boswell almost certainly referred to Jean Home, the daughter of a much respected judge and philosopher, and wife of the prosperous Patrick Heron with whom she never had any children despite being married to him for about 11 years.

According to Pottle in James Boswell, The Earlier Years 1740-1769, their affair most probably lasted from at least November 1761 until some time in 1762. Boswell gave her much praise in his journal of his harvest jaunt (1762); he stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Heron at Kirroughtrie from September 18 to September 25 and again from September 27 to October 4, 1762. In the journal entry of October 4 he writes that "Mrs. Heron and I had some serious conversation before I parted with her, not to meet again in all probability for a very long time. [...] Mrs. Heron said some things which affected me a good deal."