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WilberforceFamily and Friends$
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Anne Stott

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199699391

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199699391.001.0001

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(p.135) 9 Helpmeets

Anne Stott

Oxford University Press

This chapter briefly summarizes the debate on separate spheres by relating the concept to the lives of the Clapham sect. It is argued that though the men lived public lives, they spent their private time in the company of their wives and children rather than in the masculine world of clubs. The chapter shows that Barbara Wilberforce, Selina Macaulay, and Marianne (Sykes) Thornton (Mrs Henry Thornton) did not become close friends and had different views on wifely responsibilities, with Marianne Thornton the most actively engaged in her husband’s public career. The passing of the abolition act in 1807 and Wilberforce’s Yorkshire election campaign of that year are discussed mainly from her point of view. The chapter ends with a discussion of the childbearing histories of the three women.

Keywords:   Barbara Wilberforce, Selina Macaulay, Marianne Thornton, abolition act, William Wilberforce, Yorkshire election, childbearing

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