Late 18th century courship and dating in britain

30-Sep-2019 11:02

Even the most head-over-heels in love woman could still have her doubts about her choice and its easy to see why since these women, in most cases, were truly bound to their husbands ‘until death do us part.’ Courtship was the golden age of romance for most women, a time when the could sit back and allow the men to woo and flatter them, for once, they had a choice and they held the power of judgement.Marriage was not something that could be jumped into without thought or care since the consequences often lasted a lifetime and a poor choice could lead to a lifetime of misery.Certain courtship etiquette and conduct was expected of an eighteenth or nineteenth century gentleman, although there were also courtship responsibilities for women.However, one etiquette book related to gentlemen noted that “courting ought never to be done except with a view to marriage.”[1] A nineteenth century gentleman maintained that “true courtship consists in a number of quiet, gentlemanly attentions, not so pointed as to alarm, not so vague as to be misunderstood.”[2] This meant a gentleman had to walk a fine line.He explores the tension, in Shakespeare’s plays, between the old order, in which fathers chose their daughters’ husbands, and the new order based on mutual love, but still plagued by the threat of infidelity.In the early modern period, customs of courtship and marriage were undergoing significant shifts.

first.”[12] The reason for this was because supposedly a suitor acquired an advantage by delay: “Especially will it be to your advantage while still a suitor, to unfold gradually the adornments of your character, making some new an favorable impression, if possible at each interview, and it will work well all through your courtship, yea, all through your married life.”[13] Once a gentlemen found a woman he wanted to court, one book provided a specific list of courtship etiquette tips for him to win her over.

We know about the courtship between Robert and Elizabeth from the ‘love’ letters they left behind which spanned the years of the mid 1700’s where, it seems, Robert desperately tries to persuade Elizabeth to speak to her father on his behalf.

Elizabeth’s father was never fond of Robert, though why that was exactly, is not completely clear though it seems that he mainly disapproved of Robert’s limited wealth and social position.

He could not pay exclusive attention to one woman unless he was serious and wanted to pursue marriage, and he could not attend church with a woman regularly, give her costly presents, or be her constant escort unless he had serious intentions.

If he neglected “all others to [solely] devote himself to a single lady he [gave] that lady reason to suppose he [was] particularly attracted to her …

first.”[12] The reason for this was because supposedly a suitor acquired an advantage by delay: “Especially will it be to your advantage while still a suitor, to unfold gradually the adornments of your character, making some new an favorable impression, if possible at each interview, and it will work well all through your courtship, yea, all through your married life.”[13] Once a gentlemen found a woman he wanted to court, one book provided a specific list of courtship etiquette tips for him to win her over.We know about the courtship between Robert and Elizabeth from the ‘love’ letters they left behind which spanned the years of the mid 1700’s where, it seems, Robert desperately tries to persuade Elizabeth to speak to her father on his behalf.Elizabeth’s father was never fond of Robert, though why that was exactly, is not completely clear though it seems that he mainly disapproved of Robert’s limited wealth and social position.He could not pay exclusive attention to one woman unless he was serious and wanted to pursue marriage, and he could not attend church with a woman regularly, give her costly presents, or be her constant escort unless he had serious intentions.If he neglected “all others to [solely] devote himself to a single lady he [gave] that lady reason to suppose he [was] particularly attracted to her …These flirtations were almost always supervised as it could be perceived as a lack of virtue for an unmarried woman to be alone in the company of unmarried men.