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|Names and Associations and Connexions.(very long)
Written by JulieW
(4/18/2008 6:56 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Ch 22: What she was, who she was, penned by Tarn
Of the lady, individually, Emma thought very little. She was good enough for Mr. Elton, no doubt; accomplished enough for Highbury -- handsome enough -- to look plain, probably, by Harriet's side. As to connection, there Emma was perfectly easy; persuaded, that after all his own vaunted claims and disdain of Harriet, he had done nothing. On that article, truth seemed attainable. What she was, must be uncertain; but who she was, might be found out; and setting aside the £10,000 it did not appear that she was at all Harriet's superior. She brought no name, no blood, no alliance. Miss Hawkins was the youngest of the two daughters of a Bristol -- merchant, of course, he must be called; but, as the whole of the profits of his mercantile life appeared so very moderate, it was not unfair to guess the dignity of his line of trade had been very moderate also. Part of every winter she had been used to spend in Bath; but Bristol was her home, the very heart of Bristol; for though the father and mother had died some years ago, an uncle remained -- in the law line -- nothing more distinctly honourable was hazarded of him, than that he was in the law line; and with him the daughter had lived. Emma guessed him to be the drudge of some attorney, and too stupid to rise. And all the grandeur of the connection seemed dependent on the elder sister, who was very well married, to a gentleman in a great way, near Bristol, who kept two carriages! That was the wind-up of the history; that was the glory of Miss Hawkins.
Emma would know from Miss Hawkin's background exactly who she was ,and exactly how her family made their money.It would have been as plain as the features on her face.
Nearly every name and place associated with Mrs Elton, inlcuding her married name, had for JA (and indeed England and possibly the world) an association with the slave trade. And that was something,the slave trade, I am increasingly convinced was a practise to which JA was vehemently opposed,and I am also convinced she used her novels to show her distate and abhorrence for this trade and its supporters.
She reserves her greatest scorn and bile for the characters in her novels associated by name with the trade,and her most evil characters are those whose names and character traits coincide with real men and women's names and trasits as mentioned in Thomas Clarkson's book,The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade, 2 vols ( 1808).It is no coincidence. I am convinced it was a deliberate act.
Here is my post about my findings made during the Mansfield Park Group Read.
To Miss Hawkins.
Sir john Hawkins is made very special mention of by Clarkson in his book. He is "credited" with beginning the whole appalling trade of slaves from Africa . At his feet we can lay the whole appalling mess. He is the real culprit for the whole appalling trade.No wonder JA made, in Miss Hawkins, one of her most obnoxious creations( second only to Mrs Norris...(and look here for Captain Norris' story) .
This is what Clarkson has to say about Sir John:
And where did Miss Hawlkins hail from? Bristol,
The very heart of Bristol....Shall we take a look at that ?. Here is a map of the very heart of Bristol in 1797:
And what do we see in "the very heart of Bristol"? The docks where the ships taking goods to be traded for slaves departed and arrived back laden with sugar etc, and grand squares, such as Queen's Square,where the wealthy merchants whose money was made in the main, from this salve trade, lived.
The trade brought great prosperty to Bristol. Go here to discover a little more about it.
Look at this description of the city from Kearsley's Traveller's Entertaining Guide of 1803:
In wealth, trade and population this city and seaport has long been reckoned the second in this kingdom. It is seated at the confluence of the Avon with the Frome. The tide rising to a great height in these narrow rivers brings vessels of considerable burden to the quay, which extends along the inner shores of the Frome and Avon; but at low water they lie aground. Bristol has eighteen churches, besides its cathedral, the most remarkable is St Mary Radcliffe, one of the finest in the kingdom. It has a prodigious trade. Here are fifteen glass-houses and the sugar refinery is one of its principal manufactures.
its almost written in code, but the sugar reference is enough ,surely?
Lets look at other associations with Miss Hawins , that we know of thus far: how about the man she married: Mr Elton
The Elton family were wealthy Bristol merchants who were associated with the slave trade .The family lived at Clevdon Court in Somerset from 1709 when it had been purchased in 1709 by Abraham Elton, a Bristol merchant, who later became Mayor of Bristol and a Member of Parliament. His business in Bristol was the manufacture of brass pots and pans , which were an important part of the slave ships cargoes of trade goods to Africa. Elton's brothers, Isaac and Jacob,also invested directly in slave ships. Hmm..........its all building up isn't it?
I can say little more at the moment,due to the nature of a Group Read and the spoiler ban,but keep a keen eye out for sugar and slavery refences. They abound whenever Miss Hawins, nee Elton ,appears.
Oh yes,Emma knew from exactly what kind of trade Miss Hawkins dowry of as many thousands as must be called ten came from. JA deliberately set up this woman to be clearly associated with the salve trade, a trade JA detested,IMHO.I dont think we can expect any good to come of her or her husband as a result....but lets see , shall we?
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