Appendix 3: Jane Austin and the Navy

Gill Cordingley

Readers interested in literature may remember something of the story of “Persuasion” in which the heroine is persuaded to give up her romance with Captain Wentworth, when he is poor and unknown.  However, after a successful career at sea during which he has become quite rich, they meet again and marry.

Jane Austen had two younger brothers, Francis and Charles, who both went to sea.  They both wrote letters home and Jane and her sister Cassandra followed the twists and turns of their careers and became quite knowledgeable about the practicalities of navy life at the time. She used this knowledge in “Persuasion”. In the novel she portrays her admiration for the naval officers of the time and her derision for the old “upper classes” who thought that they were vastly superior to the “new men” of the navy.

Incidentally, unlike Admiral Gosselin, Jane’s brother Francis (1774-1865) did achieve the distinction of becoming Admiral of the Fleet.

(See: “Jane Austen and the Navy” by Brian Southam : obtainable through the Public Library)

 

This page was added on 08/04/2022.

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