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|MT: Henry's bankruptcy
Written by Linden
(3/11/2003 7:43 p.m.)
JA's favourite brother Henry probably caused more distress to the family than any other member, though he doesn't seem to have been much at fault. This information comes from George Holbert Tucker's `A History of Jane Austen's Family' -- a great read!
In 1813 Henry was made Receiver General for Taxes for Oxfordshire (I'm not at all certain what that means: can anyone cast any light?) His uncle James Leigh Perrot and his brother Edward Knight acted as his sureties for ten thousand and twenty thousand pounds respectively. The inflationary war economy made things prosper.
However, Waterloo brought deflation. The failure of the Alton bank of which Henry was a partner brought down the London bank of Austen, Maunde and Tilson in March 1816. No personal extravagance was attibuted to Henry, but his bankruptcy caused serious losses to several members of the family, particularly his guarantors. JA lost a little over thirteen pounds, part of her profits from Mansfield Park.
Tucker adds that the strain of the worry came at the beginning of her critical illness, and added greatly to her physical distress.
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