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The Little RepublicMasculinity and Domestic Authority in Eighteenth-Century Britain$

Karen Harvey

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199533848

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199533848.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
The Little Republic

Karen Harvey

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

Why do we know so little about men's engagements with the domestic environment in eighteenth‐century Britain? This chapter examines two well‐established historiographical narratives which have obscured the activities of men in the eighteenth‐century house: the first charting changes in domestic patriarchy modelled on the eclipse of political patriarchalism by new types of family relationship rooted in contract theory, and the second describing the emergence of a new kind of domestic interior: a ‘home’ infused with a new culture of ‘domesticity’ primarily associated with women and femininity. The chapter argues for reinstituting a focus on patriarchy in practice — on the small acts of household authority that men performed in the domestic environment — and for the use of the contemporary concept of ‘house’ to understand the eighteenth‐century domestic environment. This chapter introduces the sources and the cultural history approach used throughout the book, and introduces the concept of ‘oeconomy’.

Keywords:   approach, cultural history, historiography, methodology, sources, house, domestic patriarchy, oeconomy

The little republic to which I gave laws, was regulated in the following manner: by sun-rise we all assembled in our common apartment; the fire being previously kindled by the servant.1

The family having suffered financial misfortunes, the vicar Charles Primrose brings his wife and children to a humble retreat. Primrose is given to lengthy speeches on proper governance in the state and it is also his wont to deliver solemn instructions to his children. Yet he does not govern over the family through abstract directives. The regulation of his ‘little republic’ is achieved not by ‘laws’ but out of both the habitual practices in which the family engage together and the physical nature of their house. ‘Our little habitation’ is snug at the base of a little hill, he explains, surrounded by neat hedges, marked by nice white-washed walls, filled with home-made pictures and well scoured dishes, and comprising just enough space—but no more—than will accommodate the family. Primrose's authority is grounded in his engagement with these material and social practices. His family will be pulled apart and his authority will come under threat; indeed, it will be the cause of some amusement. Yet even those who smile are acquainted with the kind of man they understand Primrose to be, and they recognize that his ‘little republic’ is the epicentre of his life.

In eighteenth-century British visual and written culture, the house became more visible than ever before. New genres exposed the domestic interior, which became increasingly a richly detailed setting for human dramas. Most notably, the domestic novel and the conversation piece imagined the activities of families in their homes. And men were present in these interiors, planted firmly next to wives in paintings and sometimes dominating the spaces of the home in novels.2 Men's engagement with the domestic was a frequent subject of satire and humour, as it was almost certainly in The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), yet in many novels the nature (p.2) of the authority that the father-patriarch wielded in the home featured as a source of some anxiety.3 Nevertheless, the relationship between men and the domestic in the eighteenth century remains obscure.

Belied by representations of men in the domestic environment, this obscurity is the result of two very important and well-established historiographical narratives. The first charts changes in domestic patriarchy, founded on political patriarchalism in the early modern period and transformed during the eighteenth century by new types of family relationship rooted in contract theory. The second describes the emergence of a new kind of domestic interior during the long eighteenth century, a ‘home’ infused with a new culture of ‘domesticity’ primarily associated with women and femininity. In this book, I wish to shift the terms of these debates such that the engagement of men with the house is less obscure, and historians are better equipped to understand masculinity, the domestic environment, and domestic patriarchy. Let us now consider these two narratives in turn.

New-styled patriarchy

It is well-established that before the mid-seventeenth century, the house and its social relationships were critical to men's wider social status. Political patriarchalism elevated the household as the key unit of social control, and the family was crucial in an analogy that aligned order in the household with order in the polity. In both practical and representational terms, a man's authority in the household was a central element in this political theory. Rapid social change in the seventeenth century put a premium on social order, found Susan Amussen, and the family was a key instrument in this.4 The individual household was established as ‘the primary unit of social control’, and the householder's patriarchal control utilized for ‘macrocosmic benefit’.5 Printed sources on the household furnish plenty of supporting examples. As Dudley North wrote in 1669, ‘All Power and Office is derived from the Sovereign in a State, and so is all from the Master in a Family. The Protection and Defence of a Kingdom belongs onely to the King, and so of a Family to the Master. All the People pay tribute to the Sovereign, and all work of Servants in a Family, whence profit may arise, is to the Masters use.’6 Following the Restoration, however, the elite were more secure, discipline operated in more subtle ways, and the family was no longer required (p.3) to sustain social order.7 It was here, Amussen argued, that the roots of the private eighteenth-century family and the ‘separate spheres’ family of the nineteenth century were to be found.

Underpinning these findings are histories of political theory, notably Gordon J. Schochet's The Authoritarian Family and Political Attitudes in 17th-Century England (1975). Seeking first to restore patriarchalism to its rightful place in the history of political theory, this book then assessed changes in theories of political obligation. The book begins with Sir Robert Filmer's Patriarcha (written in c.1639, published in 1680)—invariably regarded as the exemplar of patriarchal political theory—in which magistrates gained their authority from and were due the same obedience as fathers, both divinely ordained. Schochet ends with John Locke's Two Treatises of Government (1690) which sought to distinguish between political and patriarchal authority and to craft a new basis for allegiance to a magistrate built upon the trust he inspired in operating for the common good. In this move from Filmer to Locke, Schochet tracked what he referred to as ‘[t]he disappearance of the family from Anglo-American political thought over two hundred years ago’.8 It is this lifting of the political burden from the household in canonical political treatises that many subsequent histories reconstruct in practice; the absence of men in the eighteenth-century house mirrors this absence of the household from eighteenth-century theories of political obligation.

For all the rhetoric, patriarchalism as a model for the household was unstable in early-modern England. Lena Orlin's insightful work shows domestic patriarchy built upon this model as highly contested, ‘irresolute in theory’, and no doubt (she speculates) in social practice too.9 Sure enough, a simple patriarchal model in which men exercised unlimited control and women were submissive was not how lives were lived. Many women resisted ideals of female submissiveness.10 Even when a powerful rhetoric of male power and female subordination circulated, women could soften and bypass male authority, without challenging it outright.11 Outside the family, certainly, women could find areas outside male control, and even within the family, the wife was ‘a subordinate magistrate within the miniature commonwealth of the family’.12 As George Wheler put it in 1698, a wife in the family is ‘acting by the joynt, tho not Independent Authority of her Husband’.13 (p.4) Men were to use both love and coercive power in the exercise of paternal authority, Wheler advised, while women should employ feminine wiles.14 Wheler's Christian manifesto for the home reveals a complex understanding of what power was and how it might be exercised by the many different people in the house. There were gradations of power in the home, and authority was effected by different people in different ways.

The realities of early-modern households made men's fulfilment of patriarchy difficult.15 And men's patriarchal authority was contested by other men as well as women; as Alexandra Shepard has shown, patriarchal authority was only one route to manliness.16 Linda Pollock finds that family relationships—between siblings as well as between husbands and wives—experienced life cycles in which alliances and power relations changed over time.17 The balance necessary for effective patriarchal authority was not simply that between husband and wife: patriarchy was more ‘insecure and unsettled’ than we once thought, Pollock believes, partly because of ‘the constant threat of being undermined by other men, who had the power to cause harm’.18 Power in the household was channelled through various routes, just as in this patriarchal society several hierarchies operated at any one time. Patriarchy was not a rigid system of male governance but a flexible ‘grid of power’ in which several different groups attained status and authority.19 It is not surprising that, as Tim Meldrum has succinctly put it, households were characterized by a ‘diversity of modes of authority’.20 ‘Patriarchy’ as a term of description for the early-modern household should be used with care: it should not be understood to mean that only a male household head possessed authority and at the expense of others in the household. If patriarchy in general was a grid of relations, then domestic patriarchy was a system of order in the household in which different individuals may each have access to different kinds and levels of power. Thus, power in the household was not a zero sum game. Nevertheless, there is no dissent: men's governance in the household was deemed one important route to early-modern manly honour.21 Men's domestic authority was the linchpin of domestic patriarchy as a system of order in the household, and this is why the figure (p.5) of the household patriarch is well-developed in works on early-modern masculinity.22

Long-term continuity is suggested by John Tosh's study of men and the nineteenth-century home in A Man's Place (1999). Home was seen not only as a man's ‘possession or fiefdom, but also as the place where his deepest needs were met’. Men were measured in part against their fulfilment of the roles of ‘dutiful husbands and attentive fathers, devotees of hearth and home’.23 Public standing flowed partly from domestic authority; ‘[d]omestic patriarchy’ was crucial for masculinity.24 Yet despite the apparent links between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, accounts of how domestic patriarchy transformed in the eighteenth century are quite distinct. Famously, Lawrence Stone's Family, Sex and Marriage (1977) replaced the patriarchal with the companionate family, tracing a shift from order and hierarchy to emotion and romantic love. These changes in domestic patriarchy were enabled partly by a process of consolidating individualism, which served to dismantle the authority of the domestic patriarch in the face of growing autonomy of other people in the household. As William James Booth explains, ‘[i]n place of the hierarchy of the household metaphor, liberal theory offered the concept of the juridical person, detached from a context of ruler and ruled, and equally endowed with the basic rights inherent in self-ownership or autonomy’.25 Both political authority and household authority were made impersonal in contract theory.26 One apparent result is a shift in the balance of power between husbands and wives.

A similar trajectory has been charted for early America. Mary Beth Norton's study, Founding Mothers and Fathers (1996) explores the day-to-day running of a patriarchal system in mid-seventeenth-century Anglo-America. Though challenged, the family was here dominated by the ‘unified authority’ of adult men as husband, preacher, and magistrate, a system which emphasized order, hierarchy, and paternal power in the family and the polity. By the mid-eighteenth century, an alternative view had taken hold: the family and polity were separated, the former made private and also closely related to women.27 Carole Shammas has succinctly criticized this work: ‘Notions about the antipatriarchal tendencies of republicanism become fused with modernization of the family arguments to produce one big theoretical stone of intergenerational affectivity rolling down a 1750–1850 hill and crushing the parental rod and patriarchal control over children's marriages and occupations.’28 (p.6) Shammas's A History of Household Government (2002) argues that colonists in early America expanded the household head's jurisdiction to include some of the responsibilities of the state to a much greater degree and for much longer than in West Europe. The American Revolution (1775–83) and the rhetoric of libertinism had little impact on this. Instead, the father's powers were checked by legal rather than affective change, and only from around 1820. By 1880, ‘separate spheres domesticity’, with the paterfamilias offstage and remote, had been established.29

Very few scholars would now claim that domestic patriarchy collapsed in the eighteenth century. Women could be subjected as much by romantic ideals and language as they were by openly articulated rules of patriarchal authority and hierarchy.30 The seminal work of Carole Pateman examined the apparent change marked by Locke, arguing that women remained subject to men as men but under different rules.31 In the most important work on family and political thought, Rachel Weil disagrees with Pateman's reading of Filmer, but concurs that while Filmer used family relations as a metaphor for political relations, later Whig writers were concerned with the family itself.32 For England, Anthony Fletcher's Gender, Sex and Subordination (1995) offers the most important sustained argument in this regard. Fletcher presents a sixteenth- and seventeenth-century world of subordination and discipline: ‘Men wanted their wives to be both subordinate and competent.’33 Subject to various challenges, patriarchy was subsequently revised and reinvigorated, and a new form of patriarchy emerged: a secular ideology based less on law, religion, and education through which men and women internalized the values that ensured their fulfilment of appropriate roles.34 So fully did women internalize subordination, that men's use of violence to enforce obedience became less necessary.35 Elizabeth Kowaleski-Wallace has also argued that family members’ internalization of a father's rule characterized a ‘new-style patriarchy’. As others have done, Kowaleski-Wallace draws on the work of Michel Foucault and Norbert Elias concerning the control of the individual through knowledge, culture, and manners in the eighteenth century. In this context the intense emotional relationships between fathers (or father-figures) and daughters depicted in eighteenth-century (p.7) women's fiction confirmed that women were safely devotional.36 For Pavla Miller this shift is less about love than self-control: ‘[a]s the patriarchalist social order began to falter, a number of thinkers speculated that peace, order, and prosperity could be secured if subjects as well as masters internalized a rigorous government of the self.’37 The home may not have been integral to eighteenth-century theories of political obligation, nor even a mirror held up to the polity, but the connection between the home and the world had been reconceived rather than severed. The home was still required to stabilize and order the self, and was thus connected to the world (the ‘public sphere’) through subjectivity.38

Eighteenth-century domestic patriarchy appears to have operated in more subtle ways, though because these works rarely speak about the material practices of power it can be difficult to see quite how men maintained and exercised domestic authority in everyday life. Yet just as Tosh wishes to emphasize both ‘domestic affections and domestic authority’ in his study of the nineteenth-century home,39 so some works insist on the continuing power of a more visible patriarchal model in the eighteenth century. Shawn Lisa Maurer's close study of early-eighteenth-century periodicals finds that ‘ideas of companionship and complementarity served to reinscribe patriarchal attitudes, albeit in new forms. Men remained the intellectual, moral, and even, surprisingly, the emotional centers of the household, in addition to and as an important foundation of their work in the public realm.’40 Sensitive to the nuances of power, and emphasizing how this ‘simultaneously privileged and oppressed men’, Maurer shows that it was ‘as economic man—a position very different from the supposedly disinterested participant in the ancient polis, and a role mistakenly perceived as separate from private, domestic functions and relations—that the middle-class husband (and husbander) of the eighteenth century constructed himself as a familial patriarch’.41 J. C. D. Clark's argument for the continuing efficacy of ancien régime structures of authority into the nineteenth century include a claim for the ongoing significance of political patriarchalism in the household.42 Yet we do not need to accept the larger picture to recognize that for many groups—not just the traditional elite—a patriarchal model of family remained meaningful. Lisa Forman Cody's examination of images of fatherhood and of the King argues that a crisis in patriarchy/paternity in the second half of the eighteenth century was countered with efforts to reinstate men's authority over reproduction and the body. These efforts referenced a still viable patriarchal model of household.43 Similarly, Matthew McCormack has (p.8) carefully rehabilitated the patriarchal household as the linchpin of eighteenth-century political action.44 Indeed, McCormack argues that it was changes in the eighteenth-century household itself that transformed the notions of electoral citizenship: ‘an understanding of independent manliness predicated upon sentimental domesticity’ shifted the focus from the markers of elite men (landed property and rank) to manly qualities and their expression through the roles of ‘father, husband, breadwinner and householder’.45 And while satire is a notoriously slippery historical source, the many jibes—often affectionate—made at the expense of men's attempts at exercising patriarchal authority in the home suggest some store set by these figures.46 Order in the household more generally became a laughing matter in Swift's brutal Directions to Servants (1745), in which the stewards are instructed to ‘Lend my Lord his own Money’ and the house-keeper to ensure a favourite footman watches out while she and the steward ‘may have a Tit-bit together’.47

A variety of sources suggest that the patriarchal household was a meaningful but also somewhat problematic concept in the eighteenth century. Tensions observable in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century families continued. The work of Joanne Bailey examines the conflicts that arose in marriage when the ‘intrinsic ambivalence between the ideal of manhood and realities of marital material life could not be accommodated’.48 The exigencies of married life necessarily involved an attenuation of the ideal of the male provisioner, in part through the expertise and authority held by women in the household. As Bailey puts it, ‘co-dependency worked against male autonomy’.49 Conflict arose because the expectations of female domestic expertise and male authority coincided. These are tantalizing glimpses of what would appear to be a culture in which the household remains central to the construction of culturally vaunted forms of masculinity. It is such a culture that this book sets out to reconstruct.

From home to house

Yet how can there be such a culture to reconstruct if, as historical work on domesticity claims, the home was predicated on men's absence? Certainly, men's engagements with the eighteenth-century house are overshadowed in chronicles of the emergence of domesticity. Some recent works imply an inverse relation between domesticity and patriarchy during the eighteenth century. Created in new domestic architecture and decoration, embedded in modern concepts of the self through new forms of narrative, or performed through sociability using new items of (p.9) material culture, eighteenth-century England is for many scholars the time and place where modern domesticity was invented, before coalescing into a more intense nineteenth-century domestic culture. Carole Shammas argues that the home became a centre for non-market-oriented sociability in the eighteenth century, a sociability orchestrated by women that stood opposed to the sociability outside the home engaged in by men.50 A more broadly conceived domesticity is discussed in works on the eighteenth-century middling sort, notably those by Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall, and by John Smail, in which a feminine domestic ideology is one component of middle-class identity. As Margaret Ponsonby has summarized, ‘[t]he home was increasingly expected to be a haven of domesticity; in particular it should be the woman's role to create a home for her family’.51 The separation of men and domesticity is now complete: eighteenth-century men were inducted into domesticity only by their wives, and otherwise unable to enter the domestic state.52

Through domesticity women gained power. In particular, through their responsibility for the fitting up and running of the home, women accrued status both within and without the home. Advice literature prepared gentry women for ‘the exercise of power’, and while a gendered hierarchy in the home was regarded as normal, the seemingly unending dramatic struggles between men and women dented patriarchal power and left space for ‘female assertiveness’.53 As Mary Beth Norton wrote of early American British colonies, paternal power was replaced by maternal care.54 Taking histories of domestic patriarchy together with histories of domesticity, a remarkable shift appears to take place: if the seventeenth-century household was governed by men, the eighteenth-century home was a source of authority for women. From the perspective of the history of masculinity, but also gender history more widely, this body of work raises many questions. Did the culture of domesticity exclude men from the home? Undermine their engagements with it? Disqualify their claims to manly status through the household? As the ‘home’ took shape, how could men legitimately engage with the domestic?

Though rarely done, let us tease out what ‘domesticity’ means in historical work. For Carole Shammas, domesticity was created through specific social practices organized by women, notably those around new objects for hot drinks, taking place in an environment emptied of market-oriented activity. These components have been built upon by others: domesticity was constituted from a wide range of material objects used within an architectural space—the ‘home’—that was not (p.10) only spatially but increasingly ideologically separate from others, notably those for ‘work’ but also places for other forms of leisure and public activity. Whether or not the home is described as ‘private’, it is separated from other places and activities. John Tosh articulates this concept of domesticity when fully formed in the nineteenth century, identified by ‘privacy and comfort, separation from the workplace, and the merging of domestic space and family members into a single commanding concept (in English, “home”)’; significantly, domesticity had also by then acquired ‘psychological and emotional dimensions’.55 Rather than view the eighteenth century as a prequel to this nineteenth-century domestic culture, eighteenth-century domesticity displayed a distinctive nature and chronology. There were in fact two distinct stages. Prior to the 1740s, material changes transformed more homes into places of sociability and comfort; the domestic interior acquired greater material distinctiveness and was represented as an identifiable and separate place. It was at this point, in fact, that the domestic novel and conversation piece emerged. These genres register how in the second half of the eighteenth century, ‘home’ was given additional weight as an emotional and psychological category.56

Significantly, men were active in both stages of eighteenth-century domesticity. They consumed the objects from which domestic culture was crafted and were acknowledged to be essential figures in the emotionally laden place of home. Domesticity was gendered, but the home was not the preserve of women alone; ‘whether constituted by authority, things, emotional or representational richness, men were implicated in, even necessary to, its constitution’.57 In English domestic novels, certainly, ‘domestic intimacy’ could be founded in ‘homosocial relationships’; men forged domesticity without women.58 Margaret Hunt's The Middling Sort: Commerce, Gender and the Family in England, 1680–1780 (1996) has made the most significant contribution to this subject. Hunt establishes that a ‘middling moral discourse’ was expressed in ‘private domesticity’, and that this served as a foundation for public virtue. Hunt is careful to show that this culture of home was created out of the different but equally significant contributions of both men and women, boys and girls. This middling-sort domesticity was as much about hard work and moral prudence, as it was about comfort, taste, and sociability.59 Tosh makes the emphatic statement that ‘[t]he Victorian ideal of domesticity was in all respects the creation of men as much as women. “Woman's sphere” was a convenient shorthand, not a call to exclusivity’.60 While there were tensions between masculinity and domesticity, historians of masculinity no longer regard (p.11) men's activities in and valuing of the home as a transgression of a gendered private/public division. ‘The point is rather’, Tosh remarks, ‘that men operated at will in both spheres; that was their privilege.’61 There is as yet no study comparable to Tosh's for the eighteenth century, but it is evident that women were not the gatekeepers of the home.

It is also evident that ‘domesticity’ was not separate from the world outside the domestic, despite the impression (created in some sources and underlined in later studies) that ‘true domesticity’ was separate from business.62 This is a profoundly important feature of Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall's Family Fortunes (1987).63 It is also a central point of Hunt's work, which places domesticity alongside the public, political sphere within middling-sort family life.64 Both studies also attend to both men's and women's role in domestic culture and the work undertaken by women in the domestic arena. Indeed, the home was created as a moral sphere, but this did not mean it was apolitical.65 This view of domesticity has been furthered by Michael McKeon's The Secret History of Domesticity: Public, Private, and the Division of Knowledge (2005). McKeon examines the changing application of the concepts of ‘public’ and ‘private’, underlining the dominance of political patriarchalism until the late seventeenth century, and the subsequent separation of the home and polity in political theory.66 A broader process of separation took place, however, in which an ever-increasing series of categories were divided as either public or private: family and state, home and public, men and women. It was this categorization or separation of knowledge that, for McKeon, constituted the transition to the modern world. Yet this modern separation of knowledge into ‘public’ and ‘private’ culminated in conflation. In modern societies, ‘public’ and ‘private’ are conflated in domesticity, argues McKeon, evident first in late-eighteenth-century domestic novels. McKeon has provided an intellectual history to complement the findings of women's and gender historians who emphasize that the domestic was emphatically not private, and that boundaries were blurred and porous.67 Indeed, focusing on men's engagements with home shows how domesticity and home remained connected to the public, serving as implicit comments on the ethical and political. Armed with these insights about practice and language, we can move past arguments for the separation of public and private and expose (p.12) the political and ethical issues that were embedded within the house. This study does so through a particular focus on masculinity.

An attention to ‘home’ is partly a manifestation of the more culturally inflected approaches to family life that have joined a long-standing historical interest in the early-modern family and household. Dominated in the early stages by demographic research, this area soon developed powerful chronologies of change in the composition of families, the role of wider kin, and the nature of hierarchy in the household.68 These works examined the effect of demographic, economic and social factors on peoples’ experiences of family. The word ‘home’ suggests something other than a collection of social relationships (family), an economic unit (household), or a physical construction (domestic interior). ‘Home’ encompasses all these meanings and more, notably the imaginative, emotional, or representational. ‘Home’ had certainly acquired new and rich meanings by the eighteenth century, and as I have discussed above, we can restore men's contributions to this domesticity.69 This emphatically does not mean, however, that men and women shared the same attitudes towards the home, or performed the same roles. Gender should be central to a proper understanding of domestic life. The characterization of the home as a feminized space was an established trope well before the eighteenth century, with the result that men were imagined to have a problematical relationship with the home. In early modern drama, for example, the house was ‘a symptom of the male subject…intimately connected with his political, social, and moral identities and functions’; but at the same time it was a source of some uneasiness, and never quite within a man's control.70 This fraught issue of possession and authority is one that remained in the eighteenth century. An important claim of this study is that in transforming the eighteenth-century house into a home, we overemphasize just one of the rich meanings of the domestic interior possible during the eighteenth century. ‘Home’ is simply too narrow a concept for an understanding of eighteenth-century domestic experience, and it serves to overemphasize a particular formulation of ‘domesticity’.

‘Home’ did not exhaust the meanings of the eighteenth-century house. Judith Lewis has found that aristocratic women used ‘home’ to refer to only those places of residence associated with ‘emotional and physical comfort, family intimacy, and personal attachment’.71 Not only did the aristocracy, as well as middling groups, invest in domesticity, but not all houses had been colonized by the home, at least for these women. It is the concept of ‘house’ that I will employ in this study. (p.13) Contemporary understandings of the house (or ‘haus’ in German) and household-family have been reconstructed by David Sabean and Naomi Tadmor respectively. They show the dividends of paying greater attention to the way contemporary meanings shaped experiences of the domestic, as well as pointing up the weight of the idea of ‘house’. Tadmor's analysis of the concept of ‘household-family’ is highly significant to an understanding of men, as it has been to many other studies, though her work on the ‘lineage-family’ is just as important.72 This study concurs with Sabean and Tadmor's examination of concepts as expressed through language. Men's writing is best understood with reference to this concept of ‘house’, which combined a configuration of space and gendered relationships of management. Having established that ‘the good Management of an House’ is a worthy occupation for men, the protagonists in the eighteenth-century translation of Xenophon's The Science of Good Husbandry debate the question, ‘[b]ut what do we mean by the Word House?’. The answer underlines the extent of men's management: ‘a Man's Estate, whether it lies in or about the House, or remote from it, yet every Branch of that Estate may be said to belong to the House’.73 ‘House’ was emphatically more than a physical shell or place of residence, and could itself be a repository of emotional and psychological meanings. Some of its meanings overlapped with ‘home’, but many were distinctive. Putting ‘home’ to one side liberates our analysis of the domestic from the connotations of a private and feminine space opposed to an ‘outside’ and public world; focusing on the ‘house’ foregrounds a different domestic culture, one centred on the household and its economic and political functions, and one in which men and masculinity were central.74 This study is not an apology for the sometimes oppressive nature of men's authority; on the contrary, part of the ambition of this study is to reconstruct the force that this authority gleaned from some of the mundane and everyday practices that went on in households. Nevertheless, I seek to understand the men whose documents I have read. To understand what men thought and felt about their domestic life, rather than portray them as hapless victims or uncomfortable interlopers in the foreign land of the home, we need to employ their own concepts.

This project set out to answer the following questions: were men involved in domestic life? How did they legitimize their domestic engagement? How was men's domestic engagement represented by these and other men? What was the relationship between discourses of masculinity and domesticity? Was there a particularly manly attitude to the domestic realm and to engaging in domestic affairs? I have chosen to (p.14) answer these questions by examining public discourses, comparing these to the discourses drawn upon by men, and exploring in some detail the activities these men carried out. The result is a study that attempts to reconstruct the things that men actually did, but the main focus is to explore men's experiences of the house and domestic authority as shaped by their own and others’ beliefs, assumptions, and expectations. These experiences were shaped by age, birth order, marital status, occupation, and region, though this social perspective gets us only so far. As Carole Shammas has said of work on early American families, some historians manage to ‘omit the structure of household authority when they discuss the “much more” of fertility, household composition, family economy, intergenerational succession, and kinship’.75 Only a cultural-historical approach can allow us to examine the structure and experience of household authority and the connections to male identity.

The Little Republic is a cultural history of social practice. The individual manuscript sources used in this book open up a world of men's daily domestic experiences. It is my aim to reconstruct the thought-world of this social practice, straddling to a degree the different historical approaches of studies of early modern manhood, on the one hand, and eighteenth-century masculinity on the other, approaches that have produced such different historiographies.76 Such a work of cultural history confronts many issues, amongst them the reach or ‘throw’ of particular meanings, the relationships between what people thought and wrote and what they did, and finally change. In addressing the reach of meanings, historians need to make a professional judgment about the weight to give to particular sources or representations. To do so, argues Peter Mandler, they need to acquire ‘a mental map of the entire field of representation’, in which to judge the influence of their own objects of study.77 Dror Wahrman has exhorted other cultural historians to develop a robust methodology ‘for identifying a cultural pattern as dominant, residual, meaningful or adventitious, resonant or echoless’.78 Wahrman's advice is particularly valuable to those who trace a discrete topic through the very broad field of an entire culture, such as the ‘self’ in eighteenth-century Britain (the subject of Wahrman's 2004 study).79 The Little Republic, by contrast, begins with a relatively tightly defined intellectual history of the discourse of ‘oeconomy’ in printed books about the household. The weight given to the ideas about masculinity and the house within this are, I expect, palpable to anyone who reads them: this is the raison d’être of many of these sources. Yet the question of reach (p.15) remains a crucial one for me, because I try to demonstrate that this discourse of oeconomy was relevant to men. Rather than simply mapping out the culture field, then, my purpose is to show how a very specific discourse had significance to men's understanding of themselves and others. I do this in the only way I know how as an historian, and that is by showing how men's spoken and written words use this discourse.80

Yet I go further, and contend that the discourse of oeconomy was practised by men in their houses. Here, the issue becomes rather more about the relationship between words and practice. The personal domestic writings I explore from Chapter 3 are not used to show how ‘practice’ measured against the ‘ideals’ found in the printed public sources explored in Chapter 2. I describe oeconomy as a discourse rather than ‘prescription’, by which I mean (first) it was not a set of rules but a more flexible cultural resource, and (second) it was comprised of practices as much as words spoken or written. Oeconomy was an ideal model of living, certainly, and men's domestic practices generated documents that show that oeconomy was implemented; yet these manuscripts also constituted the discourse of oeconomy. Oeconomy was lived in material ways, rather than existing only in words on a page.81 The third challenge is attending adequately to change over time. Continuity in the history of gender is undeniable and important, and while the work of women's and gender historians may be mistaken for presenting a static account, many attend to the subtle and shifting changes that affect men's and women's lives.82 This book also argues for continuities—across the eighteenth century and indeed from the seventeenth into the nineteenth century; this would surprise few gender historians or historians of masculinity. Nevertheless, the history of masculinity (as in gender and women's history more widely) does need to re-engage with questions of chronology and periodization, and this book is framed by a detailed account of change, specifically concerning both the content and application of the discourse of oeconomy as examined in Chapter 2.83

This book is written as a contribution first and foremost to the history of masculinity and to gender history more widely. For some time the history of masculinity in the eighteenth century was dominated by work on social spaces and politeness. Another body of work addresses men's sexual or violent lives.84 Some work has been done on men in domestic spaces.85 David Hussey's assertion that ‘the home formed one of the main arenas though which conceptions of polite masculine (p.16) gentility—mannered deference, restraint, sensibility of thought and action, decency and the civilizing action of mixed company—were encoded’ is suggestive, though not sustained by any thoroughgoing study.86 In contrast to this particular lens of new codes of manners, other work focuses on the equally important but much less mannered and glamorous side to men's engagement with household life.87 Power, rather than politeness, is the key theme of this study. This book steps into the breach between work on seventeenth-century household patriarchs and nineteenth-century domestic governors, encouraging a history of masculinity over the long durée. The sources I have used were not created to record the drama of family life, but rather its often unremarkable occurrences. Everyday, commonplace domestic activity was recorded in men's writing, and it is the very ‘ordinariness’ of these documents that allow historians to reconstruct the texture of men's past personal lives.88 These practices are not grandiose performances of strict discipline, but the often small yet articulate acts of household authority, underpinned by a widely circulating discourse of men's role as household managers. The notion of an internalized ‘new-style’ patriarchy fails to capture the ways in which men's household authority was grounded in practical strategies of control, much like those adopted by middling-sort French men in the seventeenth century.89 Regular practices of accounting, for example, brought together domestic housekeeping and governance; such practices of oeconomy were the creation and enactment of men's domestic authority.

Little sense emerges from these records of domestic authority under continual threat, or of a furious ‘patriarchal rage’ arising from men's frustrated expectations of ‘total control within the domestic environment’.90 In eighteenth-century models of ‘household government’, men's domestic authority was invariably uncontested and unremarkable. Yet, reinstituting a focus on men's domestic authority and their practical engagement with the domestic does not imply downplaying the vital role that women played in that environment and the high status that accrued to women as a result.91 Women were indispensable to men for the domestic tasks they provided: ‘I desire to know how the Gentleman can live in a House, without a (p.17) Woman?’, a juror pointedly asked during an Old Bailey trial of 1737.92 Without women, men risked the loss of a range of domestic tasks and the status that came from a well-kept house. Yet a simple division of labour in the household did not exist, and men performed domestic tasks in households that were characterized by co-dependency.93 Marriage marked men's rite of passage into adulthood, yet the significance of the house went much further than freeing men to undertake business elsewhere and providing comfort when this work was done.94 Household management was a joint endeavour which prioritized the household as a communal unit; this book sets out to understand better the role of men in this unit.

This study of domestic lives draws on a range of different source types, general and specific, public and private. Public sources show how contemporaries imagined men's relationship to the house, and yielded templates available to men. Printed works of non-fiction, for example general household manuals, religious books and pamphlets, political treatises, dictionaries, encyclopedias, advice books to men, fathers, sons, women, and children, reveal a world in which the functioning of home depends on men's close involvement and investment. The use of these sources allows an engagement with some of the broader themes of historical work on gender and the home. Close readings of manuscript sources can produce rich and persuasive accounts, though.95 This book is based on a close investigation of a series of middling-sort case studies, selected from a relatively small pool in order to give a range of occupations, wealth, region, and period. The study engages with work on the middling sort or the middle-class, and the sources were selected on this basis either by occupation or wealth.96 There are over 25 case studies, ranging in date from 1665 to 1834, in occupation from mechanic to small shopkeeper, yeoman to rector, schoolmaster to lawyer. While a broadly middling group, these case studies include households of different sizes and wealth. They are also spread in terms of location, stretching from London to Cork and from North Devon to Fife; all but two are from England, however, and a majority are concentrated in the northern counties of Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire, and the East and West Ridings of Yorkshire.97

The middling sort is notoriously difficult to define, and while focused studies make convincing cases for coherent identities, broader studies must operate on the understanding that ‘[t]he middling sort was not a unified group’.98 The case studies in this book align with the often precarious families in eighteenth-century London examined by Peter Earle, and the ‘shopkeepers, manufacturers, better-off (p.18) independent artisans, civil servants, professionals, lesser merchants, and the like’ beneath the gentry but above the labouring studied by Margaret Hunt, rather than the large merchants of the ‘middle-class’ explored by John Smail.99 A minimum income was £50 per annum, and while Hunt is comfortable describing as middling sort those whose income could reach £5,000, an upper limit of £2,000 is more typical.100 When the bachelor Timothy Tyrell began his account book at around the age of 36, in 1729, he managed a modest building programme of three houses, paying bricklayers, labourers, painters, plasterers, and carpenters on a daily basis, and finally paying £11 to the builder in 1731.101 Details of many houses let from the 1730s show that Tyrell received several hundred pounds a year from these rentals, and continued to receive rentals and pay taxes up to his death in April 1766.102 Timothy junior was 11 at the time of his father's death, but went on to enjoy the fruits of his father's economic success. He married, had several children, became a ‘remembrancer of the City of London’, and a man of some wealth: the theft of his clothes in the winter of 1798 was deemed newsworthy, and reported in the press.103 The goods and chattels of the Bury school usher Edmund Pilkington were appraised on 17 May 1755, valued at a total of £156 11s.104 Pilkington describes himself as ‘Yeoman’ in his will of 1755, and left to his wife Margaret £20, his dwelling house, and her own cow—worth £5—to be kept with those of his eldest son, Edmund.105 The Rector Daniel Renaud (1697–1770) had amassed considerably more wealth by the time of his death. His will, a modest document in extent and sentiment, beginning with the simple wish, ‘I Give & Bequeath unto My Eldest Son David Renaud, All My Books, Manuscripts’, shows he left property (bought for £174 in 1739) and land to his wife, and the considerable sum of £400 to each of his three daughters.106 Renaud was not a very wealthy man, though he was a man of importance locally: his death was announced in the General Evening Post on Tuesday 30 June 1772.107 (p.19) Higher up the social scale, the Cheshire solicitor Thomas Mort in 1732 bequeathed £1,085 in cash to friends and family, and his property placed in trust.108 He was, as he stated in his will of 1737, a land-owning ‘Esquire’ and Lord of the Manor. This had been purchased by his great-grandfather in 1595, and by the time Mort's father died (in 1683) all four sons received small estates and subsequently entered the professions, commerce, and manufacturing.109

There are some significant differences between the case studies, then, and we can expect these various factors—occupation, wealth, region, as well as age and marital status—to affect considerably men's activities, or at least their written records. The account books of the bachelor solicitor Thomas Mort (d.1737) and William Parkinson of Derbyshire (fl. 1740s) include proportionately fewer smaller, lower value household items than the account book of Henry Richardson, ‘clerk’ and rector of Thornton-in-Craven in the West Riding from 1735.110 We lack full biographical information about these men, but marital status seems to be an important factor in shaping their men's records. We can be certain that of the three only Richardson was married, and indeed his book is begun on the occasion of his marriage. Perhaps he had reason to be closely engaged with the house as he established this new household, or perhaps it was a small enough enterprise for him to be closely involved. In contrast, Mort had at least three servants at any one time. Parkinson inherited two-thirds of a house and land from the yeoman William Smedley in 1742; the other third was left to Smedley's wife Sarah. It was Smedley's wish that Parkinson (his nephew) ensure that Sarah ‘be sufficiently and handsomely maintained with Meat Drink Washing and Lodging and all other necessaryes fit suitable and convenient for her from the time of my decease for and during the term of her natural life’, and furthermore to assist in supporting ‘the Maintenance and Education’ of Smedley's fatherless grandchildren, offspring of Joseph Morley, managing the legacies to be given to the girls and the land left for the boys until the age of 21.111 Given these extensive responsibilities, Parkinson was required to keep accounts for several households and made payments to many individuals for domestic services and housekeeping. Smaller items of expenditure are, not surprisingly, relatively uncommon in the volume. The level of men's engagement with everyday household consumption was partly determined by the size and wealth of the household, then, as well as life-course and marital status.

The geographical location of men also affected what they did and what they recorded. Despite the emphasis on the large town in most studies of the middling sort, the middling sort was a significant group in smaller provincial towns and rural areas. Henry French has established that this group is best demarcated by the (p.20) concept of ‘gentility’, a quality that connoted ‘innate characteristics that ensured they, and only they, were fit to govern the rest of the social order’.112 This book includes case studies of men in urban and rural areas, and the latter show a keen attention to the land and rentals. As lord of the manor Mort collected tithes and Parkinson was also engaged in large-scale farming. Daniel Renaud (b.1697) also collected land rents, though in capacity as rector of Whitchurch in Herefordshire. These men's records often situated them in the house. By contrast the Leeds merchant John Micklethwaite and York solicitor William Gray produced their writings in an urban context, and their occupations produced writing concerned to a large extent with commerce. Timothy Tyrell (b.1754), from a family of upholsterers in Reading and John Darracott in the busy port town of Bideford in North Devon were some distance from a large town, but situated in bustling places. While the occupations of Micklethwaite, Gray, Tyrell, and Darracott in some ways took them further from the house, we shall see that they nevertheless engaged closely with domestic activities and space. Given that attitudes to land were varied in rural communities, for some ‘a long-term resource’, for others ‘a commodity to be assessed in terms of price and rent’, divisions between the urban and rural middling sort should not be overdrawn.113

These case studies are supported by over 14 account books, 11 diaries, 9 commonplace books, bills and receipts, memoranda, letters, parish records, and probate material. Even within similar genres of writing, there is considerable variety between sources. For some of these men, their writing was profoundly confessional. John Darracott, John Stede, and Richard Kay, for example, were moved to write out of Christian devotion. They displayed a duty to both the family confessional community as well as the solitary reflection that was promoted in some Christian writing. Indeed, many of the documents were consonant with Christian ideals of manliness in which ‘domesticity’ was practically and metaphorically ‘intimately connected with other aspects of a man's life’.114 The priorities of these men were similar to those of the men examined by Hannah Barker for the same period: ‘marital and familial relations, moral and spiritual development, and making a living’.115 Not wishing to emphasize sex and shopping at the expense of religion, as some eighteenth-century historians have been accused, I will discuss this factor in the chapters that follow.116 Some apparent omissions from these writings also require attention. For example, not all men wrote about the house extensively in their personal documents. The commonplace book of the Revd Joseph Wilson (c.1774–1821) is typical in its inclusion of a (p.21) tremendous range of information. Wilson was Vicar of Hampsthwaite in the West Riding, from 1771–1790, when he resigned.117 Land Tax returns for 1781–1790 show entries roughly averaging at £2 17s 4d, and being paid on several properties.118 Wilson's volume contains notes on proceedings of the Skipton and Knaresborough Turnpike Commissioners between 1786 and 1807, demographic details of the local parishes, a set of ‘Marriage Instructions’, diary entries about farming, money, weather, and bees, and a letter from J. Browne dated 14 October 1737 from Queen's College. ‘Home’ is not very prominent, to be sure. And yet Wilson records ‘1796 The Loan to the Emperor of Germany for his Forces L4,600,000’ alongside his payment for a pair of Sunday shoes and a painter's bill for his parlour.119 The fact that these men did not record their innermost thoughts on soft furnishings is significant, certainly. Yet this does not necessarily mean that men did not engage with the domestic, but perhaps instead that they did so in ways that are not accounted for in existing work.

The mixed nature of these documents is itself suggestive. This applies to men's diaries, letters, and account books, as we shall see, but it is the commonplace book that exemplifies this best. Since the Renaissance, commonplace books had contained many different kinds of entry carefully ordered: important personal or family memoranda, others things of interest or note, and items intended to explicate general concepts. By the late seventeenth century this had become ‘a rather lowly form of life’, with volumes filled with unrelated items of often personal interest and what Ann Moss has described as ‘scraps of uncoordinated trivia’.120 The entries in the many eighteenth-century commonplace books kept by middling-sort men are indicative of this. Yet developments in the manner of commonplacing retained the cultural cachet of the practice. John Locke's new method of making commonplace books, published in French in 1686, ordered subject headings according to the first letter and first vowel. A central precept was that a range of different topics could be brought together within the same system, and this gained steadily in popularity during the eighteenth century. In this context, the ordering of written material was associated with ‘the methodizing of one's thoughts, the pursuit of self-improvement, and the fashioning of the polite individual’.121 The authors of the commonplace books used in this study failed to adhere closely to Locke's model, but their volumes that brought together different kinds of material were consonant with the notion of a self-improving and ordered person. In other words, the variety of material we find in individual men's writings, and the sometimes brief (p.22) discussion of domestic activity, is not evidence of an absence of a particular engagement with the home, but evidence of a broad thought-world in which the domestic was just one integral part.

A wide-ranging history of eighteenth-century masculinity might explore a range of different ‘styles’ rather than forms: styles of good fellowship, for example, or politeness.122 This study examines the style of men's domestic engagements in the eighteenth-century middling-sort house. The Little Republic argues that male authority in the household found continued expression during the eighteenth century, consolidated and embedded in the subtle but potent everyday material practices of the house. Men engaged with the house not simply as a unit of order, though. Like women, men bought an array of different kinds of goods for domestic consumption, and they used objects in the formation of relationships and the making of memory. Certain forms of domestic sociability, particularly those gathered around a table, succinctly captured men's authority and rootedness in the house, as well as their proprietorial engagement with domestic things. Men viewed and used domestic material in distinctive ways. In their careful management of property and their personal investment in meaningful domestic things, men of the middling sort grounded their identities in the material features and practices of their domestic lives. As do many of the works that explore women's paid employment outside the house, this study of men in the house confirms that a model of ‘separate spheres’ will no longer suffice.123 Indeed, Chapter 5 discusses the degree to which the house—and all that it contained and symbolized—provided the grounding for these men's self-identities. Grounded in the skills and virtues associated with the good management of the house, these identities became increasingly important to the public identities of men and families. Middling-sort men worked hard to ensure that the esteemed practices of domestic authority were reproduced between men within their families, yet as I begin to explore in Chapter 6, oeconomical practices may also have been reproduced between men of different social ranks, such that we can identify a fraternity of oeconomy. This took place in the context of the intensification of a discourse of male domestic authority.

Men's domestic engagements and authority in the eighteenth century have remained obscure partly because when historians have looked for shaping ideas they have turned to canonical political theory. In contrast, this book begins with a study of what might be called ‘lay political theory’ in order to understand men's engagement with the domestic, their claims to domestic authority, and the cultural resources upon which these were founded. This writing foregrounded a general discourse of ‘oeconomy’. Oeconomy was the practice of managing the economic and moral resources of the household for the maintenance of good order. Rather than ‘domesticity’, ‘separate spheres’, or ‘political patriarchalism’, it (p.23) is oeconomy that is most useful in understanding men's (and arguably women's) engagements with the domestic. Oeconomy necessarily combined day-to-day management (housekeeping or domestic economy) and the macro- or global management of people and resources (governance or domestic patriarchy). If women were often presented as attending to the physical needs of the family, men were imagined to attend to the physical unit of the house and everything it encompassed; women attended to the bodies in the house, men attended to the body of the house.124 Oeconomy was, first, a specific way of organizing the household. But, second, oeconomy was also a discourse that comprised values, structures, and practices. These could be adapted by people in differing circumstances and referred to or understood as ‘oeconomical’ and they shaped some of the ways in which men's actions in the domestic were understood. Oeconomy was emphatically not coterminous with masculinity in general, nor with a hegemonic ‘patriarchal manhood’ with which it shared some features.125 It was not reliant on marriage or fatherhood, though it was most readily expressed through a paternal role. Oeconomy was a valued style of manliness and associated practices, rather than a life-stage or set of demographic factors. There was a close match between the positive qualities associated with manhood and the good management of a house, and oeconomy established the house as one component of a man's life that operated across the divide of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the house. Indeed, good oeconomy was proof-positive of the right to govern and be a citizen. Crucially, the discourse of oeconomy changed during the eighteenth century: as patriarchal theories of domestic authority were fused with a revived classical model, men's domestic identity was tied increasingly closely to ideas of political citizenship, the public good of society, and public-spirited contributions of the household to the national economy; this authoritative masculine identity rooted in the house became increasingly relevant to the developing social and political authority of the middling sort. Significantly for histories of the home which so often narrate a process of privatization and feminization, oeconomy brought together the house and the world, primarily through men's management of the resources of the household. It is to this discourse of oeconomy to which I will now turn.


(1) Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield (1766, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982, 1986), chapter 4, p. 50.

(2) See Michael McKeon, The Secret History of Domesticity: Public, Private, and the Division of Knowledge (London, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005), pp. 672–717 on men in domestic novels; Hannah Greig, ‘Eighteenth-Century English Interiors in Image and Text’ in Jeremy Aynsley and Charlotte Grant (eds), Imagined Interiors: Representing the Domestic Interior since the Renaissance (London: V&A Publications, 2006), pp. 102–12.

(3) Brian McCrea, Impotent Fathers: Patriarchy and Demographic Crisis in the Eighteenth-Century Novel (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1998), p. 28, passim. On The Vicar of Wakefield, see James P. Carson, ‘“The Little Republic” of the Family: Goldsmith's Politics of Nostalgia’, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, 16, 2 (2004), pp. 173–96; Christopher Flint, ‘“The Family Piece”: Oliver Goldsmith and the Politics of the Everyday in Eighteenth-Century Domestic Portraiture’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 29, 2 (1995–6), pp. 127–52.

(4) Susan Dwyer Amussen, An Ordered Society: Gender and Class in Early Modern England (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988).

(5) Lena Cowen Orlin, Private Matters and Public Culture in Post-Reformation England (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1994), p. 3.

(6) Dudley North, Observations and Advices Oeconomical (London, 1669), p. 33.

(7) Amussen, An Ordered Society, pp. 31–2, 101–3, 186.

(8) Gordon J. Schochet, The Authoritarian Family and Political Attitudes in 17th-Century England (1975; New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1988), p. xxv. See also Gordon J. Schochet, ‘The Significant Sounds of Silence: The Absence of Women from the Political Thought of Sir Robert Filmer and John Locke (or, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?”)’, in Hilda Smith (ed.), Women Writers and the Early Modern British Political Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 220–42.

(9) Orlin, Private Matters and Public Culture, p. 4.

(10) Laura Gowing, Domestic Dangers: Women, Words and Sex in Early Modern London (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), pp. 185, 186.

(11) Bernard Capp, ‘Separate Domains? Women and Authority in Early Modern England’, in Paul Griffiths, Adam Fox and Steve Hindle (eds), The Experience of Authority in Early Modern England (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996), p. 125.

(12) Ibid. p. 130, quote at p. 127.

(13) George Wheler, The Protestant Monastery: or, Christian Oeconomicks (London, 1698), p. 50.

(14) Ibid. pp. 26, 45.

(15) One important example is Anthony Fletcher, Gender, Sex and Subordination in England, 1500–1800 (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1995), pp. 230, 403–7.

(16) Alexandra Shepard, ‘Manhood, Credit and Patriarchy in Early Modern England c. 1580–1640’, Past and Present, 167 (2000), p. 106.

(17) Linda Pollock, ‘Rethinking Patriarchy and the Family in Seventeenth-Century England’, Journal of Family History, 23, 1 (1998), pp. 3–27, esp. pp. 4–5.

(18) Ibid. p. 22.

(19) Michael J. Braddick and John Walter, ‘Introduction. Grids of Power: Order, Hierarchy and Subordination in Early Modern Society’, in Michael J. Braddick and John Walter (eds), Negotiating Power in Early Modern Society: Order, Hierarchy and Subordination in Britain and Ireland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 1–42.

(20) Tim Meldrum, Domestic Service and Gender, 1660–1750: Life and Work in the London House (Harlow: Pearson, 2000), p. 37.

(21) Elizabeth Foyster, Manhood in Early Modern England: Honour, Sex and Marriage (Harlow: Addison, Wesley, Longman, 1999), passim.

(22) For a fuller discussion, see Karen Harvey, ‘The History of Masculinity, circa 1650–1800’, in Karen Harvey and Alexandra Shepard (eds), ‘Special Feature on Masculinities’ in The Journal of British Studies, 44, 2 (2005), pp. 298–300.

(23) John Tosh, A Man's Place: Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England (New Haven, Conn; London: Yale University Press, 1999), p. 1.

(24) Ibid. p. 4.

(25) William James Booth, Households: On the Moral Architecture of the Economy (Ithaca; London: Cornell University Press, 1993), pp. 174–5.

(26) Ibid. p. 144.

(27) Mary Beth Norton, Founding Mothers and Fathers: Gendered Power and the Formation of American Society (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996), passim, esp. 404–5.

(28) Carole Shammas, A History of Household Government in America (Charlottesville; London: University of Virginia Press, 2002), p. 132.

(29) Ibid. passim, and p. 144.

(30) See, for example, Susan Moller Okin, ‘Women and the Making of the Sentimental Family’, Philosophy and Public Affairs (1982),11, 1, pp. 65–88.

(31) Pavla Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West: 1500–1900 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), p. 67.

(32) Rachel Weil, Political Passions: Gender, the Family and Political Argument in England, 1680–1714 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999), p. 35.

(33) Fletcher, Gender, Sex and Subordination, p. 174.

(34) Fletcher's theory of the reinvigoration of patriarchy builds on earlier suggestions that men's power continued but changed in nature/justification during the eighteenth century. See, for example, Elizabeth Kowaleski-Wallace, who argues (against Stone and Trumbach) that with the influence of Locke there was not a decline of patriarchy, but rather an internalization of a father's rule over his children, and a ‘new-style patriarchy’: Elizabeth Kowaleski-Wallace (ed.), Their Fathers’ Daughters: Hannah More, Maria Edgeworth, and Patriarchal Complicity (New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 17.

(35) Fletcher, Gender, Sex and Subordination, p. 203.

(36) Kowaleski-Wallace, Their Fathers’ Daughters, p. 17; Eleanor Wikborg, The Lover as Father Figure in Eighteenth-Century Women's Fiction (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2002), pp. 8–9.

(37) Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy, p. xvii.

(38) David Solkin, Painting for Money: The Visual Arts and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century England (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), p. 86.

(39) Tosh, Man's Place, p. 1.

(40) Shawn Lisa Maurer, Proposing Men: Dialectics of Gender and Class in the Eighteenth-Century English Periodical (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998), pp. 28–9.

(41) Ibid. pp. 29, 24.

(42) J. C. D. Clark, English Society 1660–1832: Religion, Ideology and Politics during the Ancien Régime (1985; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 172–84.

(43) Lisa Forman Cody, Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of Eighteenth-Century Britons (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 270.

(44) Matthew McCormack, The Independent Man: Citizenship and Gender Politics in Georgian England (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2005), pp. 12–30.

(45) Ibid. 19, 18.

(46) In addition to Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), with which this chapter began, for example, we must note Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759–67).

(47) Reverend Dr [Jonathan] Swift, Directions to Servants in General (London, 1745), pp. 73, 92.

(48) Joanne Bailey, Unquiet Lives: Marriage and Marriage Breakdown in England, 1660–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 199.

(49) Ibid. p. 199.

(50) Carole Shammas, ‘The Domestic Environment in Early Modern England and America’, Journal of Social History, 14 (1980), pp. 3–24.

(51) Margaret Ponsonby, Stories from Home: English Domestic Interiors, 1750–1850 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), p. 13.

(52) Amanda Vickery, Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England (New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2009), p. 88.

(53) Amanda Vickery, The Gentleman's Daughter: Women's Lives in Georgian England (New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 1998), p. 127; Vickery, Behind Closed Doors, p. 165. The degree of actual power women gleaned through this domestic role is a topic of some debate. See, for example, Kathryn Shevelow, Women and Print Culture: the Construction of Femininity in the Early Periodical (London: Routledge, 1989).

(54) Norton, Founding Mothers and Fathers, passim, esp. 404–5.

(55) Tosh, Man's Place, pp. 4, 30.

(56) Karen Harvey, ‘Men Making Home in Eighteenth-Century Britain’, Gender & History, 21, 3 (2009), pp. 527–8.

(57) Ibid. pp. 528–9.

(58) McKeon, Secret History of Domesticity, pp. 672, 673.

(59) Margaret Hunt, The Middling Sort: Commerce, Gender and the Family in England, 1680–1780 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), pp. 193–215. Quotes at pp. 199, 202.

(60) Tosh, Man's Place, p. 50. Deborah Cohen, Household Gods: The British and their Possessions (New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2006) reinforces this. Her chapter ‘In Possession’, pp. 81–121, shows how only at the very end of the nineteenth century did men give up control of domestic culture.

(61) John Tosh, ‘The Old Adam and the New Man: Emerging Themes in the History of English Masculinities, 1750–1850’, in Tim Hitchcock and Michelle Cohen (eds), English Masculinities, 1660–1800 (London: Longman, 1999), p. 230.

(62) Elizabeth Kowaleski-Wallace, Consuming Subjects. Women, Shopping, and Business in the Eighteenth Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), p. 121.

(63) Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall, Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780–1850 (1987; Routledge, London, 1992).

(64) Hunt, Middling Sort, p. 9.

(65) Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy, pp. 125–6.

(66) McKeon, The Secret History of Domesticity, passim; Michael McKeon, ‘Historicizing Patriarchy: The Emergence of Gender Difference in England, 1660–1760’, Eighteenth-Century Studies 28, 3 (1995), pp. 296–8.

(67) For descriptions of space in seventeenth-century court cases, see Amanda Flather, Gender and Space in Early Modern England (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2007), passim, esp. pp. 43–4, 177. See also Orlin, Private Matters and Public Culture, passim.

(68) Peter Laslett, The World We Have Lost (London: Methuen, 1965); Peter Laslett, Family Life and Illicit Love in Earlier Generations: Essays in Historical Sociology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977); Peter Laslett and Richard Wall (eds), Household and Family in Past Time: Comparative Studies in the Size and Structure of the Domestic Group over the Last Three Centuries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972); Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1500–1800 (1977; Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979).

(69) Harvey, ‘Men Making Home’, passim; Karen Harvey, ‘Barbarity in a Teacup? Punch, Domesticity and Gender in the Eighteenth Century’, Journal of Design History, 21, 3 (2008), pp. 205–21.

(70) Orlin, Private Matters and Public Culture, p. 268.

(71) Judith S. Lewis, ‘When a House Is Not a Home: Elite English Women and the Eighteenth-Century Country House’, Journal of British Studies, 48 (2009), p. 362.

(72) Naomi Tadmor, ‘The Concept of the Household-Family in Eighteenth-Century England’, Past and Present, 151 (1996), pp. 110–40; Naomi Tadmor, Family and Friends in Eighteenth-Century England: Household, Kinship and Patronage (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 18–72; David Sabean, Property, Production, and Family in Neckarhausen, 1700–1870 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 88–123.

(73) The Science of Good Husbandry: or, The Oeocnomics of Xenophon, trans. Richard Bradley (London, 1727), pp. 3, 4.

(74) Such an approach can take better account of the work of historian Jan de Vries, who insists on the household as an economic unit. See his The Industrious Revolution: Consumer Behaviour and the Household Economy, 1650 to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

(75) ‘Carole Shammas Responds’, William and Mary Quarterly, 52, 1, 1995, p. 165.

(76) See Karen Harvey and Alexandra Shepard, ‘What Have Historians Done with Masculinity? Reflections on Five Centuries of British History, circa 1500–1950’, Journal of British Studies, 44 (April 2005), pp. 274–80; Harvey, ‘The History of Masculinity, circa 1650–1800’, pp. 296–311; Alexandra Shepard, ‘From Anxious Patriarchs to Refined Gentlemen? Manhood in Britain, circa 1500–1700’, The Journal of British Studies, 44, 2 (2005), pp. 281–95.

(77) Peter Mandler, ‘The Problem with Cultural History’, Cultural and Social History, 1, 1 (2004), p. 97.

(78) Dror Wahrman, ‘Change and the Corporeal in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Gender History: Or, Can Cultural History be Rigorous?’, Gender and History, 20, 3 (2008), p. 591.

(79) Dror Wahrman, The Making of the Modern Self: Identity and Culture in Eighteenth-Century England (New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2004).

(80) See Chapter 3, pp. 64–72.

(81) See Chapter 3, pp. 72–98, for a fuller discussion.

(82) A recent and critical discussion of these works can be found in Wahrman, ‘Change and the Corporeal’, esp. pp. 588–90.

(83) On the issue of gender and change, see the recent article, Alexandra Shepard and Garthine Walker, ‘Gender, Change and Periodisation’, Gender & History, 20, 3 (2008), pp. 453–62, and the other articles in this special issue.

(84) Bailey, Unquiet Lives; Philip Carter, Men and the Emergence of Polite Society in Britain, 1660–1800 (Harlow: Longman, 2001); Elizabeth Foyster, Manhood in Early Modern England (Harlow: Longman, 1999).

(85) On periodicals, see Maurer, Proposing Men, passim.

(86) David Hussey, ‘Guns, Horses and Stylish Waistcoats? Male Consumer Activity and Domestic Shopping in Late-Eighteenth- and Early-Nineteenth-Century England’, in David Hussey and Margaret Ponsonby (eds), Buying for the Home: Shopping for the Domestic from the Seventeenth Century to the Present (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), pp. 47–69.

(87) Hannah Barker, ‘Soul, Purse and Family: Middling and Lower-Class Masculinity in Eighteenth-Century Manchester’, Social History, 33, 1 (2008), pp. 12–35; Hannah Barker, ‘A Grocer's Tale: Gender, Family and Class in Early Nineteenth-Century Manchester’, Gender & History, 21, 2 (2009), pp. 340–57.

(88) Barker, ‘A Grocer's Tale’, p. 341.

(89) Julie Hardwick, The Practice of Patriarchy: Gender and the Politics of Household Authority in Early Modern France (Pennsylvania: Pennysylvania State University Press, 1998).

(90) Kenneth A. Lockridge, On the Sources of Patriarchal Rage: The Commonplace Books of William Byrd and Thomas Jefferson and the Gendering of Power in the Eighteenth Century (New York: New York University Press, 1992), p. 89.

(91) See, for example, Garthine Walker, ‘Expanding the Boundaries of Female Honour in Early Modern England’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th ser, 6 (1996), pp. 235–45, which argues that female honour stemmed from occupation and household activities as well as chastity.

(92) See Chapter 2, p. 65.

(93) Bailey, Unquiet Lives, passim, and pp. 203–4.

(94) Vickery, Behind Closed Doors, pp. 104–5.

(95) Lockridge's On the Sources of Patriarchal Rage is a superb example of this.

(96) Craig Muldrew ‘Class and Credit: Social Identity, Wealth and the Life Course in Early Modern England’, in Henry French and Jonathan Barry (eds), Identity and Agency in England, 1500–1800 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), pp. 147–77. On middle-sort values, Henry French, ‘Social Status, Localism and the “Middle Sort of People” in England 1620–1750’, Past and Present, 166 (2000), pp. 66–99.

(97) This provides a contrast to Margaret Ponsonby's focus on unremarkable middling sort homes from the West Midlands and West Sussex as a corrective to the published work on the landed and London. See, Ponsonby, Stories from Home.

(98) Hunt, Middling Sort, p. 14.

(99) Hunt, Middling Sort, p. 15. Peter Earle, The Making of the English Middle Class: Business, Society and Family Life in London, 1660–1730 (London: Methuen, 1989).

(100) Hunt, Middling Sort, p. 15.

(101) [Timothy Tyrell, 1755–1832], ‘Account book with mathematical exercises’ (1725–1768), William Andrews Clark Memorial Library: MS. 1945.001, f. 156.

(102) Ibid. for example, ff. 79–84.

(103) Old Bailey Proceedings Online (〈http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/〉), December 1798, trial of John Newton and Mary Hawkins (t17981205-28). The case was reported in at least two papers, the Oracle and Daily Advertiser, Friday 7 December 1798, and Bell's Weekly Messenger, Sunday 9 December 1798. See 17th and 18th Burney Collection of Newspapers Online, 〈http://find.galegroup.com.eresources.shef.ac.uk/bncn〉, Gale Document Numbers: Z2001003428 and Z2000115489 (last accessed 9 September 2010).

(104) ‘Will and inventory of Edmund Pilkington, Yeoman, 24th February 1755’, Lancashire Record Office: WCW 1755. I thank Alan Crosby for his assistance.

(105) Pilkington's four cows are valued at £20 in total in the inventory. See ‘Will and inventory of Edmund Pilkington’.

(106) ‘The will of Daniel Renaud, 1770’, Herefordshire Record Office: Probate series AA20, Box Number 334, June–September 1772. For details of the cost of property (Differnant's court), see Notebook of Revd Daniel Renaud, 1730–1769, Herefordshire Record Office: A98/1, ff.38–9. I thank John Harnden for his assistance.

(107) General Evening Post, Tuesday 30 June 1772, p. 3. See 17th and 18th Burney Collection of Newspapers Online, 〈http://find.galegroup.com.eresources.shef.ac.uk/bncn〉, Gale Document Number: Z2000444200 (last accessed 9 September 2010).

(108) ‘Will of Thomas Mort of Damhouse 1736’, Lancashire Record Office. I thank Alan Crosby for his assistance.

(109) John and Sylvia Tonge, Astley Hall (Damhouse) (John and Sylvia Tonge, 2002), pp. 7–10.

(110) Richardson was referred to as ‘clerk’ in the draft marriage settlement for Richard Richardson and Dorothy Smallshaw, 1750: WYAS Bradford, 68D82/14/47. Richardson was one party in this settlement.

(111) ‘Will of William Smedley, 21 April 1742’, Lichfield Record Office: B/C/11. Smedley administered Joseph Morley's estate. See Admon of Joseph Morley, 14 October 1740, Lichfield Record Office: B/C/11. I thank Kate Henderson for her assistance.

(112) Henry French, The Middle Sort of People in Provincial England, 1600–1750 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 22, passim.

(113) H. R. French and R. W. Hoyle, The Character of English Rural Society: Earls Colne, 1550–1750 (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2007), p. 300.

(114) William Van Reyk, ‘Christian Ideals of Manliness During the Period of the Evangelical Revival, c.1730 to c.1840’ (University of Oxford DPhil thesis, 2007), p. 80. Quote at p. 99. I am grateful to the author for sharing this work with me.

(115) Barker, ‘Soul, Purse and Family’, pp. 16–17.

(116) B. W. Young, ‘Religious History and the Eighteenth-Century Historian’, The Historical Journal, 43, 3 (2000), p. 859.

(118) Land Tax returns for Hampsthwaite, 1781–1832, West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield: QE13/5/21. I thank Jennie Kiff for her assistance.

(119) ‘Commonplace book of Revd Joseph Wilson c1774–1821’, West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds: WYL753, Acc 1886, ff.17, 18, 25.

(120) Ann Moss, Printed Commonplace-Books and the Structuring of Renaissance Thought (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), pp. 279, 280.

(121) Lucia Dacome, ‘Noting the Mind: Commonplace Books and the Pursuit of the Self in Eighteenth-Century Britain’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 65, 4 (October 2004), p. 615.

(122) This idea of ‘styles’ is used by David Leverenz in The Language of Puritan Feeling: An Exploration in Literature, Psychology, and Social History (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1980), esp. pp. 162–206.

(123) Hannah Barker, The Business of Women: Female Enterprise and Urban Development in Northern England, 1760–1830 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 170–3.

(124) This does not mean that men did not undertake caring roles in practice. See Lisa Smith, ‘The Relative Duties of a Man: Domestic Medicine in England and France, ca. 1685–1740’, Journal of Family History, 31, 3 (2006), pp. 237–56, and also the discussion of medicine recipes in men's writing, Chapter 5, pp. 126–7.

(125) See Alexandra Shepard, Meanings of Manhood in Early Modern England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003) for an account of relationships between patriarchal, anti-patriarchal, and alternative models of manhood, and the increasing importance of social status in the representation and application of these. See esp. pp. 70–89 and passim.