Atlantic Families: Lives and Letters in the Later Eighteenth by Sarah Pearsall

By Sarah Pearsall

The Atlantic represented a global of chance within the eighteenth century, however it represented department additionally, setting apart households throughout its coasts. no matter if because of financial shifts, altering political landscapes, imperial pursuits, or perhaps easily own tragedy, many households came across themselves fractured and disoriented through the expansion and later fissure of a bigger Atlantic international. Such dislocation posed huge demanding situations to all people who seen orderly family members relatives as either a normal and a private excellent. The extra lucky people who therefore stumbled on themselves "all at sea" have been capable of use kinfolk letters, with attendant emphases on familiarity, sensibility, and credits, to be able to stay attached in instances and locations of substantial disconnection. Portraying the relations as a unified, affectionate, and satisfied entity in such letters supplied a way of surmounting matters approximately societies fractured through actual distance, worldwide wars, and extending social stratification. it might additionally supply social and monetary leverage to person women and men in sure situations. Sarah Pearsall explores the lives and letters of those households, revealing the occasionally stunning tales of these divided by means of sea. Ranging around the Anglophone Atlantic, together with mainland American colonies and states, Britain, and the British Caribbean, Pearsall argues that it used to be this increasing Atlantic world-much greater than the yank Revolution-that reshaped modern beliefs approximately households, up to households themselves reshaped the transatlantic international.

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They also demonstrate the deep and abiding connection between the private lives of individuals, and their larger political contexts. West Indian planters came under fire for problematic domestic arrangements at a time when their political clout was challenged. Women writing intimate letters as well as politicians speaking in Parliament exploited similar forms of language, and claims to family feeling. Credit in domestic epistolary exchanges could be as critical as credit in the economy. This book faces head-on, as few have, at least one of the many challenging truths of Abigail Adams’s letter to John in March 1776: that households were at the center of life in this period, whether in one place, or two, or three.

John Singleton Copley, Admiral Clark Gayton (1779). In the domestic activity of the family placed in an outdoor setting, though, this drawing paralleled portraits like John Hamilton Mortimer, William Powell and his wife, Elizabeth, and his Daughters, Ann and Elizabeth Mary (1768): see cover. Fig. 1. Frontispiece to The Court Letter Writer (London, 1773). 1860, frontispiece. 28 Fractured Families choices, associated with the circulation of goods, peoples, polities, policies, and ideas. While not incorrect, this treatment is insufficient, since each voyage across the Atlantic implied a separation from a family and a household.

Elizabeth Galloway to Grace Galloway, ‘February 2th 1780’, Betsey Galloway—Correspondance of [to mother and others]’, Joseph Galloway Papers, LoC. ⁴⁴ Envelope of letters, File: Joseph Galloway to Grace Growden Galloway, 1776–81, Joseph Galloway Papers, LoC. ⁴⁵ Thomas Ruston to Job Ruston, ‘Exeter July 4th: 1782’, Ruston Family Papers, LoC. 38 Fractured Families perceived fault, or sudden tragedy. ’⁴⁶ An ill-tempered husband in England castigated his wife in Georgia: ‘I thought you would have been a more attentive correspondent .

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