'Thinking Minds of Both Sexes': Patriotism, British Bluestockings and the Wars against Revolutionary America and France, 1775–1802

Title'Thinking Minds of Both Sexes': Patriotism, British Bluestockings and the Wars against Revolutionary America and France, 1775–1802
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsMacleod, Emma V.
EditorHagemann, Karen, Gisela Mettele, and Jane Rendall
Book TitleGender, War and Politics: Transatlantic Perspectives, 1775-1830
Pagination247-264
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
CityBasingstoke, UK
Abstract

‘Without intending it, I have slid into politics’, wrote the poet Anna Seward at the end of a long letter to a regular correspondent, Colonel Dowdeswell of Shrewsbury, in November 1797. ‘In a period so momentous,’ she explained, ‘their attraction, to thinking minds of both sexes, is resistless.’ This quotation might suggest that Seward had forgotten herself temporarily to make a brief aside that touched on some political question. In fact, her whole letter had been devoted to discussing the war against revolutionary France—her enjoyment of a concert in Birmingham given to celebrate Admiral Duncan’s victory at Camperdown the previous month; the civility of the eighty French prisoners of war exiled in her home town of Lichfield in Staffordshire for the past ten months; the prisoners’ inhospitable reception by most of the other residents of Lichfield and their recent removal to Liverpool jail; her musing on the sufferings of British prisoners of war in France; the miseries and evils of war in general; and the prejudice and corruption of the Pitt administration in its refusal to seek peace with France sooner. This book chapter discusses the patriotism of the British Bluestockings, of which Amma Steward was one, in the periods of the British wars against Revolutionary Ameria and France.

URLhttps://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057/9780230283046_13
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