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|The Irish Connection
Written by Linden
(3/9/2003 4:35 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, JA & the Wars. Part 3 - (1796-1800), penned by Captain Everett
] In the autumn of 1796.... That October, Jane began writing "First Impressions" (later revised into "Pride and Prejudice" ), featuring several characters serving in the ___shire Militia.
This timing may account for JA's curious fascination with the names of the Fitzwilliam family (who lived in Wentworth Woodhouse and whose family included some relations called D'Arcy), as Fitzwilliam had been in the news the year before.
In 1795, Earl Fitzwilliam was appointed briefly as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He was sympathetic to the Irish cause, and was quickly recalled, having stirred up hopes that the British government were not willing to satisfy. Could this be when JA became interested in his family's names?
By coincidence, he was also in the news later, shortly before P&P was finally published, as he was Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1811-12 when the Luddite risings occurred there and was in charge of putting them down. I did assume that it was then that she chose to refer to an earl in the north of England who had a son called Fitzwilliam and a nephew called Fitzwilliam Darcy, but your post shows that the names may have been in the original `First Impressions'.
Follow this link to more on Ireland, including Fitzwilliam's role.
PS: Jason, there are a few typos in your post that you might want to check. Sorry if I seem anal-retentive, but I'm just taking a break from a batch of marking...
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