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Atlantic FamiliesLives and Letters in the Later Eighteenth Century$
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Sarah M. S. Pearsall

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532995

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532995.001.0001

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The Farewell Between Husband and Wife: The Politics of Family Feeling

The Farewell Between Husband and Wife: The Politics of Family Feeling

(p.179) 6 The Farewell Between Husband and Wife: The Politics of Family Feeling
Atlantic Families

Sarah M. S. Pearsall (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter attends to the separation of a husband and a wife during and immediately after the American Revolution, considering what attended those moments when the ‘silken cords’ of marriage were stretched by distance and disorder. Concentrating on New England (especially Newport, Rhode Island) and England, it seeks to answer the question of why a husband did not return to his wife at the war's end, and what this meant. Women in such circumstances could obtain a kind of limited leverage from eloquent sensibility. Charges of unfeelingness, an important domestic claim, could also take on additional political meaning in wartime situations. At the same time, claims of ‘family feeling’ could also be put in service of some rather dubious political and domestic choices.

Keywords:   New England, England, Newport, Rhode Island, Loyalism, American Revolution, marriage, unfeelingness, husbands, wives

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