I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights

woensdag 26 november 2014

What happened in the times of the Brontes?

  • 1800, the Combination Laws banned trade unionism, thus unions forced to operate in secret or under the guise of "non-political" Friendly Societies which were recognised as legal in 1793.
  • 1802, children banned from working more than 12hrs a day
  • 1800-15 - see under Europe for the conflicts with Napoleon;
  • 1810-12 & 1816-17, Luddite protesters against introduction of new equipment in textile industry smash factory machinery
  • 1819, children aged < 9yrs banned from working in cotton mills
  • 1824, laws against trade unionism repealed but their legal status was precarious until the 1860s
  • 1830, King George IV dies & is succeeded by Queen Victoria (r. 1837-1901) an 18yr old princess who would become England's longest-reigning monarch with 9 off-spring & their spouses being in most of the royal houses of Europe making her popularly known as the "grandmother of Europe"
  • 1830's government funding for elementary schools leads to rise in state education which became free for anyone by 1870
  • 1830's & 40's, cholera epidemics lead to public health measures.
  • 1832, Reform Act leads to the Whigs & the Conservative Party to organise themselves as national parties
  • 1834, the New Poor Law, workhouse conditions must be inferior to lowest paid labourer outside to discourage laziness & vagrancy
  • 1835-7, 1st railway boom in England, creating many, disconnected lines owned by new railway companies. Railway investments commonly returned 10% on their capital.
  • 1841, Robert Peel becomes 1st PM of a Conservative (as opposed to a purely Tory) Party after defeating former PM Lord Melbourne's Whig Party.
  • 1844, limits on woman's working hours; 2nd railway boom, almost exhausting the available capital of the investing public;
  • 1845, establishment of free public libraries
  • 1847, Emily Bronte "Wuthering Heights"; 
  • 1850-3, Anglo-Kaffir war;
  • 1851, Prince Albert establishes the Great Exhibition to promote industry & peace;
  • 1855, Viscount Palmerston becomes PM & clashed often with Victoria
  • 1857, Irish Republican Brotherhood (Fenians) founded;
  • 1860's, despite ferocious penalties for even petty crime, 100,000 lived in London by thieving or swindling & another 80,000 were prostitutes. This was the city of Sweeney Todd the Barber & Jack the Ripper.
  • 1861, Prince Albert dies causing Victoria to retreat from social life & lose popularity; Charles Dickens "Great Expectations";
  • 1864, 1st International Workingmen's Assoc. founded by Karl Marx;
  • 1865, William Booth, concerned for the adverse effects of urbanism, founds the Salvation Army to help provide social & spiritual welfare of the destitute; Many land owners earned £100,000/yr & paid tax of only 2d in the pound, the average labourer's income was £70
  • 1869, Liberal Party PM Gladstone (r. 68-74; 80-85; 86; 92-94) disestablishes the Irish Church; 
    • John Stuart Mill pushes for women's rights:
      • fighting against loveless marriages as marriages were primarily a property exchange with husband taking all of his wife's property as well as being able to cane her and lock her up if refusing sex without her ever being able to free herself of her tormentor.
      • fighting for equal pay for women and woman's right to vote.
  • 1870, secondary education made universal; 
  • 1871, Lewis Carroll "Through the looking glass"; Charles Darwin "The descent of man"; Jehovah's Witnesses founded; F.A. cup;
  • 1872, the great railway companies founded from the amalgamation of many smaller ones. Introduction of cheap 3rd class train travel at a penny a mile;
  • 1876, Conservative Party PM Disraeli makes Victoria Empress of India; Gilbert and Sullivan "HMS Pinafore"; 
  • 1880, education for children < 10 yrs made compulsory which finally cleared the streets of ragged children living on their wits. Dining cars on trains;
  • 1883, the Cheap Trains Act made provision for discounted workmen's tickets which then allowed the better paid factory workers to live further out in the suburbs away from the slums around the factories.
  • 1884, the agricultural labourer is enfranchised
  • 1885, 1 in 4 Londoners still lived in abject poverty
  • 1885, Lord Salisbury, a Tory becomes PM (r. 85-6; 86-92, 95-02) an implacable foe of Irish Home Rule, made the Conservative Party the most powerful one
  • 1886-7, Karl Marx "Das Kapital" published in English; violent riots by the unemployed vented distress that accompanied the music halls, gin palaces & imperial pomp of Victorian London.
  • 1887, Doyle's 1st Sherlock Holmes story;
  • 1889, London dock strike;
  • 1897, Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee
  • 1890, corridor trains, & then lavatory-equipped ones, made long non-stop train trips possible.
  • 1891, minimum age for children to work raised to 11yrs; Thomas Hardy "Tess of the     D'Urbervilles";
  • 1895, H.G.Wells "The Time Machine"; Rutherford comes to England from NZ;
  • 1898, H.G.Wells "The War of the Worlds";
  • 1899, Oscar Wilde "The importance of being earnest"; Elgar "Enigma Variations"; 

  • Read about: History

    • the rise of the British Empire and the fall of the domestic tradesman
    • the rise of abusive child labour
    • European nationalism & liberalism:
    • Britain's monarchy moves out of the political arena to become a neutral guardian of national stability & is ruled by Queen Victoria with the concurrent revival of Puritanism;
    • American civil war & the abolishing of slavery.
    • the age of the telegraph
    • the age of the passenger steamship (1839 - 1960s)
    • the age of the railways (1840-1880
    • the age of the city slums & the eventual rise of public health & philanthropy
    • London after 1860 - the war against dirt
    • Science & technology
    • Art & music

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    Parsonage

    Parsonage

    Charlotte Bronte

    Presently the door opened, and in came a superannuated mastiff, followed by an old gentleman very like Miss Bronte, who shook hands with us, and then went to call his daughter. A long interval, during which we coaxed the old dog, and looked at a picture of Miss Bronte, by Richmond, the solitary ornament of the room, looking strangely out of place on the bare walls, and at the books on the little shelves, most of them evidently the gift of the authors since Miss Bronte's celebrity. Presently she came in, and welcomed us very kindly, and took me upstairs to take off my bonnet, and herself brought me water and towels. The uncarpeted stone stairs and floors, the old drawers propped on wood, were all scrupulously clean and neat. When we went into the parlour again, we began talking very comfortably, when the door opened and Mr. Bronte looked in; seeing his daughter there, I suppose he thought it was all right, and he retreated to his study on the opposite side of the passage; presently emerging again to bring W---- a country newspaper. This was his last appearance till we went. Miss Bronte spoke with the greatest warmth of Miss Martineau, and of the good she had gained from her. Well! we talked about various things; the character of the people, - about her solitude, etc., till she left the room to help about dinner, I suppose, for she did not return for an age. The old dog had vanished; a fat curly-haired dog honoured us with his company for some time, but finally manifested a wish to get out, so we were left alone. At last she returned, followed by the maid and dinner, which made us all more comfortable; and we had some very pleasant conversation, in the midst of which time passed quicker than we supposed, for at last W---- found that it was half-past three, and we had fourteen or fifteen miles before us. So we hurried off, having obtained from her a promise to pay us a visit in the spring... ------------------- "She cannot see well, and does little beside knitting. The way she weakened her eyesight was this: When she was sixteen or seventeen, she wanted much to draw; and she copied nimini-pimini copper-plate engravings out of annuals, ('stippling,' don't the artists call it?) every little point put in, till at the end of six months she had produced an exquisitely faithful copy of the engraving. She wanted to learn to express her ideas by drawing. After she had tried to draw stories, and not succeeded, she took the better mode of writing; but in so small a hand, that it is almost impossible to decipher what she wrote at this time.

    I asked her whether she had ever taken opium, as the description given of its effects in Villette was so exactly like what I had experienced, - vivid and exaggerated presence of objects, of which the outlines were indistinct, or lost in golden mist, etc. She replied, that she had never, to her knowledge, taken a grain of it in any shape, but that she had followed the process she always adopted when she had to describe anything which had not fallen within her own experience; she had thought intently on it for many and many a night before falling to sleep, - wondering what it was like, or how it would be, - till at length, sometimes after the progress of her story had been arrested at this one point for weeks, she wakened up in the morning with all clear before her, as if she had in reality gone through the experience, and then could describe it, word for word, as it had happened. I cannot account for this psychologically; I only am sure that it was so, because she said it. ----------------------She thought much of her duty, and had loftier and clearer notions of it than most people, and held fast to them with more success. It was done, it seems to me, with much more difficulty than people have of stronger nerves, and better fortunes. All her life was but labour and pain; and she never threw down the burden for the sake of present pleasure. I don't know what use you can make of all I have said. I have written it with the strong desire to obtain appreciation for her. Yet, what does it matter? She herself appealed to the world's judgement for her use of some of the faculties she had, - not the best, - but still the only ones she could turn to strangers' benefit. They heartily, greedily enjoyed the fruits of her labours, and then found out she was much to be blamed for possessing such faculties. Why ask for a judgement on her from such a world?" elizabeth gaskell/charlotte bronte



    Poem: No coward soul is mine

    No coward soul is mine,
    No trembler in the worlds storm-troubled sphere:
    I see Heavens glories shine,
    And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.


    O God within my breast.
    Almighty, ever-present Deity!
    Life -- that in me has rest,
    As I -- Undying Life -- have power in Thee!


    Vain are the thousand creeds
    That move mens hearts: unutterably vain;
    Worthless as withered weeds,
    Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,


    To waken doubt in one
    Holding so fast by Thine infinity;
    So surely anchored on
    The steadfast Rock of immortality.


    With wide-embracing love
    Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
    Pervades and broods above,
    Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.


    Though earth and man were gone,
    And suns and universes ceased to be,
    And Thou wert left alone,
    Every existence would exist in Thee.


    There is not room for Death,
    Nor atom that his might could render void:
    Thou -- Thou art Being and Breath,
    And what Thou art may never be destroyed.


    --
    Emily Bronte

    Family tree

    The Bronte Family

    Grandparents - paternal
    Hugh Brunty was born 1755 and died circa 1808. He married Eleanor McClory, known as Alice in 1776.

    Grandparents - maternal
    Thomas Branwell (born 1746 died 5th April 1808) was married in 1768 to Anne Carne (baptised 27th April 1744 and died 19th December 1809).

    Parents
    Father was Patrick Bronte, the eldest of 10 children born to Hugh Brunty and Eleanor (Alice) McClory. He was born 17th March 1777 and died on 7th June 1861. Mother was Maria Branwell, who was born on 15th April 1783 and died on 15th September 1821.

    Maria had a sister, Elizabeth who was known as Aunt Branwell. She was born in 1776 and died on 29th October 1842.

    Patrick Bronte married Maria Branwell on 29th December 1812.

    The Bronte Children
    Patrick and Maria Bronte had six children.
    The first child was Maria, who was born in 1814 and died on 6th June 1825.
    The second daughter, Elizabeth was born on 8th February 1815 and died shortly after Maria on 15th June 1825. Charlotte was the third daughter, born on 21st April 1816.

    Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls (born 1818) on 29th June 1854. Charlotte died on 31st March 1855. Arthur lived until 2nd December 1906.

    The first and only son born to Patrick and Maria was Patrick Branwell, who was born on 26th June 1817 and died on 24th September 1848.

    Emily Jane, the fourth daughter was born on 30th July 1818 and died on 19th December 1848.

    The sixth and last child was Anne, born on 17th January 1820 who died on 28th May 1849.

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