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 23 juli 2014

Temperance reformation and Catholic Emancipation.

Although a strong Tory Patrick Bronte was sympathetic to many Whig ideas. He supported Roman Catholic Emancipation, was against the death penalty for minor crimes, like stealing a loaf of bread, against the workhouse system where families were separated, a man from his wife and parents from their children, and against rotten boroughs where the few voters were bribed to vote for particular members of Parliament. Patrick was one of the few Tories in Haworth, a great believer in the established (Church of England) church among a majority of Dissenters. In Haworth he was a founder member, as was Branwell, of the Haworth Temperance Society.  He was a great believer in education and fought hard to raise money for, first of all a Sunday School and later a day school. He raised money for the poor when there was little work. He raised a subscription to replace the three bells of the church by six new ones so the bell ringers could take part in competitions. brusselsbronte 

Temperance reformation
During 1830, at the beginning of the temperance reformation, twenty temperance societies were founded, totalling between two and three thousand members. The first period of the temperance movement was focused on controlling drunkenness rather than abolishing all alcoholic beverages. history/journal

This photograph proudly displayed alongside other Brontë mementos at the Temperance tea rooms in the family's home village of Haworth in West Yorkshire, the picture was auctioned by Sotheby's in 1898 when the Museum of Brontë Relics closed down and sold off everything it owned. It has not been seen since, although copies of the picture are known to exist. independent

Catholic emancipation

Catholic emancipation was the subject of political debate in the United Kingdom, which intensified in the 19th Century after the Act of Union in 1801. Catholics were not allowed to sit in Parliament1 and therefore were represented by Protestants. Catholic emancipation — Catholic relief — was designed to give Catholics the right to sit in Parliament.


In 1823,
Daniel O'Connell, an Irish Catholic lawyer and politician, began a campaign for Catholic emancipation. He was widely successful and raised a great deal of money through 'Catholic Rent', a subscription to an association which cost only one penny a month. His popularity led to his election for the county of Clare in Ireland, even though he could not take his seat in Parliament. Robert Peel and the Duke of Wellington felt that the threat of insurrection in Ireland surpassed the threat of allowing Catholics to sit in Parliament4. The Catholic Relief Act was passed on 24 March, 1829. It contained a number of securities for the Protestants, including not allowing Catholics to attain certain positions and disenfranchising the 40-shilling freeholders. This meant that people who owned or lived on property worth more than forty shillings had previously been allowed to vote in Ireland, but that the property requirement would now be ten pounds.

Opposition to Catholic Emancipation
The Duke of Wellington, famous for his successes in the Napoleonic Wars, was the Prime Minister of Britain from 1828 - 1830 and the leader of the Tory party, which generally stood for the defence of the status quo. Both Wellington and his second-in-command and future Prime Minister Robert Peel had been against Catholic emancipation in the past, and their about-turn was seen as deceitful and disloyal. Wellington and Peel were of the opinion that the potential unrest in Ireland was preventable only by allowing Catholic emancipation. Many members of their own party opposed the measure, which was only passed with Whig support. The Duke of Newcastle was a strong opponent of Catholic emancipation, and in his diary described how Wellington and Peel 'betrayed their country'. He also attributes this speech to the Duke of Cumberland:

Nothing shall induce me to abandon the principles which I have always maintained and what is more to do my utmost to defeat measures which in my conscience I believe to be destructive of the Throne, the altar and the Protestant Constitution.
The opposition to Wellington and Peel's Catholic emancipation split the Tory party and led to the Whigs taking power for the first time in more than twenty years.

zondag 20 juli 2014

The transition between the Georgian and Victorian eras

The transition between what are commonly termed the Georgian and Victorian eras is one of the great turning points of British history. The dividing line is often considered to be either 1830 (the death of George IV) or 1837 (the accession of Queen Victoria

The sphere in which the end of the Georgian Era can be mostly clearly witnessed is within the Church of England. The Church of England was transmuted from an essentially Latitudinarian Protestant sect, suspicious of ‘enthusiasm’, into a Church fully asserting its historic Catholicity, and strongly influenced by medieval ritual.

In the early 19th century, a parish vestry had wide-ranging responsibilities for such areas as poor relief, tax collection, registration of births, marriages and deaths, and road maintenance. A series of legislative measures of the 1830s gave such duties to secular bodies like poor law unions and civil vestries, making the Church’s sole concern religion.

It would be completely unjust to characterise the earlier Georgian Era as devoid of charity, but it is probably fair to state that it had never been accompanied by such spiritual fervour as shown by reformers like Wilberforce, Hannah More, Henry Thornton and Charles Simeon. Their main cause was the abolition of the slave trade, an object achieved in 1807, followed by the total abolition of slavery in 1833.

Despite the excessive pomp of George’s coronation in 1821, the monarchy – and thus the establishment – had reached its lowest point. In the eyes of many, including the growing number of political radicals, it had lost all moral integrity and could no longer command the respect of the nation. When Victoria became Queen at the age of 18, her unenviable task was to restore the moral authority of the British establishment.

Transition between the artistic cultures of the Georgian and Victorian eras, from ‘neoclassicism’ to ‘romanticism’. This was observable to some degree in all western cultures during the first half of the 19th century. Writers such as Wordsworth, Blake, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley and Bryon were mainly active during the Georgian Era, but were often dissident elements, refusing to conform to the Augustan society around them.

In the early 19th century, the dominant style of architecture was that of the Greek Revival. From the 1840s onwards gothic was the standard style for churches,

Female clothing changed drastically around the same time: dresses were no longer large and elaborate, but were simple and light in imitation of Grecian models. By the 1830s female dresses were gradually expanded and embellished, reaching the absurd extreme of the unapproachable crinoline dresses of the 1860s

It is clear that the transition between the Georgians and the Victorians has had profound consequences. The demise of the Georgian Era demonstrates how a complete set of assumptions can be undermined, and finally overthrown, from within. The battles between rationality and romanticism, moral leniency and strictness, materialism and mysticism, still affect us today. /georgian-victorian

The Parlour

The Parlour



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).

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.

Top Withens in the snow.

Top Withens in the snow.



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