Sailing the Seas on a Family Ship

Last month, we saw how Jane Austen’s family used connections to help promote the careers of her two sailor brothers, Frank and Charles. When we left them, the Napoleonic wars were ending, causing a glut of naval officers. The Austen brothers’ lack of connections—their few sponsors had fallen out of…
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Networking in the Age of Sail

Unlike Army officers, members of the Royal Navy could obtain commissions without purchasing them. This difference created opportunities for the penurious sons of gentlemen like Jane Austen’s father, the Rev. George Austen. Two of his younger sons, Frank and Charles, joined the Navy when they were barely into their teens….
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Fight Against Slavery Carried on Beyond Austen’s Life

Slavery was one of the most contentious issues of Jane Austen’s time. Some scholars claim that she ignored the issue or even accepted the legitimacy of the practice. Others claim that her novel Mansfield Park serves as an anti-slavery tract. For certain, Austen would have tackled the complex issue in a…
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