The Merchants’ Children

Anne Stott

in Wilberforce

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199699391
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739132 | DOI:
The Merchants’ Children

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This chapter is a joint study of the childhood and adolescent experiences of William Wilberforce and Marianne Sykes. Their two families were part of the Hull mercantile elite and their mothers were friends, and their youthful experiences form an instructive comparison and contrast. Wilberforce’s family background, schooling, and university career are described. It is argued that the adult Wilberforce can only by understood in the light of his childhood separation from his uncle and aunt. The discussion of Marianne Sykes focuses on her letters. It introduces one of the major characters in the book and throws light on the Midlands intelligentsia around Anna Seward and Erasmus Darwin.

Keywords: William Wilberforce; Marianne Sykes; Hull; merchant families; Anna Seward; Erasmus Darwin; childhood separation

Chapter.  9316 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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