Wilberforce: Family and Friends

Hardcover | February 21, 2012

byAnne Stott

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At the age of thirty-seven, after a very short courtship, William Wilberforce married Barbara Spooner, the daughter of a Midlands industrialist, and their first child was born in the following year. His family life brought him both happiness and anxiety. Convinced that he had been 'too long aBachelor', he lacked confidence in his ability to be a good husband and father. A great deal has been written about Wilberforce's role in the abolition of the slave trade, but far less about his private life. Yet this is the man who exchanged his prestigious Yorkshire constituency for an undemanding pocket borough in order to devote himself to his family. In her innovativestudy, Anne Stott casts fresh light on the abolitionist and his friends, the group of Evangelical philanthropists retrospectively named the Clapham sect. While the men occupied important public roles they were also deeply committed to the ideal of domesticity. The ideology of the period depicted the middle-class home as a place of tranquil retreat from the cares and temptations of public life, though the family crises depicted in this study show that the reality was always more complex. With varying degrees of success, the Clapham men and women broughttheir Evangelical piety to their patterns of courtship and marriage, their philosophy of child-rearing, and their strategies in coping with death and bereavement. For the first time, much of this story is told from the perspective of the wives, and it is primarily through their voices that the book's themes of the family, women and gender, childhood and education, sexuality, and intimacy are explored.

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At the age of thirty-seven, after a very short courtship, William Wilberforce married Barbara Spooner, the daughter of a Midlands industrialist, and their first child was born in the following year. His family life brought him both happiness and anxiety. Convinced that he had been 'too long aBachelor', he lacked confidence in his abili...

Anne Stott has taught at the Open University and Birkbeck, University of London, as well as various other adult education institutions. She has published extensively on women and Evangelicalism, and her book, Hannah More: The First Victorian (OUP, 2003) won the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize in 2004. She is a participant in the Dissenting A...

other books by Anne Stott

Hannah More: The First Victorian
Hannah More: The First Victorian

Paperback|Sep 15 2004

$96.95

Format:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:February 21, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199699399

ISBN - 13:9780199699391

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I: The Abolitionist and his Circle1. The Merchants' Children2. The Great Change3. 'Our Clapham Schemes'Part II: In Search of a Wife4. Wilberforce: Love and War5. 'Serious Duties': Henry Thornton and Marianne Sykes6. 'Jacob and Rachel': Zachary Macaulay and Selina Mills7. 'Too precipitate'?: William Wilberforce and Barbara SpoonerPart III: The Families on the Common8. 'Valuable Friends'9. Helpmeets10. Children11. White DeathPart IV: The Wilberforces at Home12. 'Domestic Publicity'13. 'Ten Thousand Anxieties'14. Elizabeth: a Daughter's Dilemma15. The Rolling Stone16. AfterlifeConclusionBibliography