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Harriet Martineau (; 12 June 1802 – 27 June 1876) was an English social theorist often seen as the first female sociologist. Michael R. Hill (2002
''Harriet Martineau: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives''
Routledge.
She wrote from a sociological,
holistic Holism (from Ancient Greek, Greek ''holos'' "all, whole, entire") is the idea that various systems (e.g. physical, biological, social) should be viewed as wholes, not merely as a collection of parts. The term "holism" was coined by Jan Smuts in hi ...
, religious and feminine angle, translated works by
Auguste Comte Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte (; 19 January 1798 – 5 September 1857) was a French philosophy, French philosopher and writer who formulated the doctrine of positivism. He is often regarded as the first Philosophy of science, phil ...

Auguste Comte
, and rarely for a woman writer at the time, earned enough to support herself. The young
Princess Victoria
Princess Victoria
enjoyed her work and invited her to her 1838 coronation. Martineau advised "a focus on all ociety'saspects, including key political, religious, and social institutions". She applied thorough analysis to women's status under men. The novelist
Margaret Oliphant Margaret Oliphant Wilson Oliphant (born Margaret Oliphant Wilson; 4 April 1828 – 20 June 1897) was a Scottish novelist and historical writer, who usually wrote as Mrs. Oliphant. Her fictional works cover "domestic realism, the historical nove ...

Margaret Oliphant
called her "a born lecturer and politician... less distinctively affected by her sex than perhaps any other, male or female, of her generation."


Early life

The sixth of eight children, Harriet Martineau was born in
Norwich Norwich () is a city and district of Norfolk Norfolk () is a rural and non-metropolitan county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary ...

Norwich
, England, where her father Thomas was a textile manufacturer. A highly respected
Unitarian Unitarian or Unitarianism may refer to: Christian and Christian-derived theologies A Unitarian is a follower of, or a member of an organisation that follows, any of several theologies referred to as Unitarianism: * Unitarianism (1565–present), ...
, he was
deacon A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christianity, Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the C ...

deacon
of the
Octagon Chapel, Norwich The Octagon Chapel is a Unitarianism, Unitarian Chapel located in Colegate in Norwich, Norfolk, England. The congregation is a member of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches. History The chapel is a grade II* listed build ...
from 1797. Harriet's mother was the daughter of a sugar refiner and grocer. The
Martineau family The Martineau family is an intellectual, business and political family, political dynasty associated first with Norwich and later also London and Birmingham, England. The family were prominent Unitarianism, Unitarians; a room in London's Essex H ...

Martineau family
was of French
Huguenot The Huguenots ( , also , ) were a Religious denomination, religious group of French people, French Protestantism, Protestants who held to the Reformed, or Calvinist, tradition of Protestantism. The term, which may be derived from the name of a ...

Huguenot
ancestry and professed
Unitarian Unitarian or Unitarianism may refer to: Christian and Christian-derived theologies A Unitarian is a follower of, or a member of an organisation that follows, any of several theologies referred to as Unitarianism: * Unitarianism (1565–present), ...
views. Her uncles included the surgeon Philip Meadows Martineau (1752–1829), whom she had enjoyed visiting at his nearby estate, Bracondale Lodge, and businessman and benefactor Peter Finch Martineau. Martineau was closest to her brother
James James is a common English language surname and given name: * James (name), the typically masculine first name James * James (surname), various people with the last name James James or James City may also refer to: People * King James (disambiguati ...
, who became a philosopher and clergyman in the tradition of the
English Dissenters English Dissenters or English Separatists were Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject t ...
. According to the writer Diana Postlethwaite, Harriet's relationship with her mother was strained and lacking affection, which contributed to views expressed in her later writing. Martineau claimed her mother abandoned her to a
wet nurse A wet nurse is a woman who breastfeeding, breast feeds and cares for another's child. Wet nurses are employed if the mother dies, or if she is unable or chooses not to nurse the child herself. Wet-nursed children may be known as "milk-siblings", ...
. Her ideas on domesticity and the "natural faculty for housewifery", as described in her book ''Household Education'' (1848), stemmed from her lack of nurture growing up. Although their relationship was better in adulthood, Harriet saw her mother as the antithesis of the warm and nurturing qualities which she knew to be necessary for girls at an early age. Her mother urged all her children to be well read, but at the same time opposed female pedantics "with a sharp eye for feminine propriety and good manners. Her daughters could never be seen in public with a pen in their hand". Despite this conservative approach to raising girls, Martineau was not the only academically successful daughter in the family; her sister Rachel ran her own
Unitarian Unitarian or Unitarianism may refer to: Christian and Christian-derived theologies A Unitarian is a follower of, or a member of an organisation that follows, any of several theologies referred to as Unitarianism: * Unitarianism (1565–present), ...
Academy with artist Hilary Bonham Carter as one of her students. Martineau's mother strictly enforced proper feminine behaviour, pushing her daughter to "hold a sewing needle" as well as the (hidden) pen. Martineau began losing her senses of taste and smell at a young age, becoming increasingly
deaf Deafness has varying definitions in cultural and medical contexts. In medical contexts, the meaning of deafness is hearing loss Hearing loss is a partial or total inability to hear Hearing, or auditory perception, is the ability ...
and having to use an
ear trumpet Ear trumpets are tubular or funnel-shaped devices which collect sound In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior throug ...

ear trumpet
. It was the beginning of many health problems in her life. In 1821 she began to write anonymously for the ''
Monthly Repository The ''Monthly Repository'' was a British monthly Unitarianism, Unitarian periodical which ran between 1806 and 1838. In terms of editorial policy on theology, the ''Repository'' was largely concerned with rational dissent. Considered as a political ...
'', a Unitarian periodical, and in 1823 she published ''Devotional Exercises and Addresses, Prayers and Hymns''. In 1829, the family's textile business failed. Martineau, then 27 years old, stepped out of the traditional roles of feminine propriety to earn a living for her family. Along with her needlework, she began selling her articles to the ''Monthly Repository'', earning accolades, including three essay prizes from the Unitarian Association. Her regular work with the ''Repository'' helped establish her as a reliable and popular freelance writer. In Martineau's ''Autobiography'', she reflects on her success as a writer and her father's business failure, which she describes as "one of the best things that ever happened to us". She described how she could then "truly live instead of vegetate". Her reflection emphasizes her experience with financial responsibility in her life while she writes "fusion of literary and economic narratives". Her first commissioned book, '' Illustrations of Political Economy'', was a fictional tutorial intended to help the general public understand the ideas of
Adam Smith Adam Smith ( 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher as well as a moral philosopher Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and ...

Adam Smith
. ''Illustrations'' was published in February 1832 in an edition of just 1500 copies, since the publisher assumed it would not sell well. Yet it very quickly became highly successful, and would steadily out-sell the work of
Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian e ...

Charles Dickens
. ''Illustrations'' was her first work to receive widespread acclaim, and its success served to spread the free-market ideas of Adam Smith and others throughout the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
. Martineau then agreed to compose a series of similar monthly stories over a period of two years, the work being hastened by having her brother James also work on the series with her. The subsequent works offered fictional tutorials on a range of political economists such as
James Mill James Mill (born James Milne; 6 April 1773 – 23 June 1836) was a Scottish historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who st ...

James Mill
, and
Ricardo Ricardo is the Spanish language, Spanish and Portuguese language, Portuguese cognate of the name Richard. It derived from Proto-Germanic language, Proto-Germanic ''*rīks'' 'king, ruler' + ''*harduz'' ''hard, brave'. It may be a given name, or a ...

Ricardo
, the latter especially forming her view of rent law. Martineau relied on
Malthus Thomas Robert Malthus (; 13/14 February 1766 – 23 December 1834) was an English cleric Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, beh ...

Malthus
to form her view of the tendency of human population to exceed its means of subsistence. However, in stories such as "Weal and Woe in Garvelock", she promoted the idea of
population control Population control is the practice of artificially maintaining the size of any population Population typically refers the number of people in a single area whether it be a city or town, region, country, or the world. Governments typically q ...
through what Malthus referred to as "voluntary checks" such as and delayed marriages.


London and the United States

In the early 19th century, most social institutions and norms were strongly shaped by gender, or the perception of what was appropriate for men versus for women. Writing was no exception; non-fiction works about social, economic and political issues were dominated by men, while limited areas, such as romance fiction, and topics dealing with domesticity were considered to be appropriate for women authors. Despite these gendered expectations in the literary world, Martineau strongly expressed her opinions on a variety of topics. Martineau's frequent publication in the Repository acquainted her with editor Rev.
William Johnson Fox William Johnson Fox (1 March 1786 – 3 June 1864) was an English people, English religious and political orator. Early life Fox was born at Uggeshall Farm, Wrentham, Suffolk, Wrentham, near Southwold, Suffolk on 1 March 1786. His parents were st ...

William Johnson Fox
(not William Darwin Fox, see disambiguation). First coming to London around 1830, she joined Fox's social circle of prominent thinkers which also introduced her to
Erasmus Alvey Darwin Erasmus Alvey Darwin (29 December 1804 – 26 August 1881), nicknamed ''Eras'' or ''Ras'', was the older brother of Charles Darwin Charles Robert Darwin (; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist Natura ...
, older brother to Charles Darwin. In November 1832 Martineau moved to London. Among her acquaintances were:
Henry Hallam Henry Hallam (9 July 1777 – 21 January 1859) was an English historian. Educated at Eton College, Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, he practised as a barrister on the Oxford circuit for some years before turning to history. His major works were ...

Henry Hallam
, Harriet Taylor, Alexander Maconochie,
Henry Hart Milman Henry Hart Milman (10 February 1791 – 24 September 1868) was an English historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who ...
,
Thomas Malthus Thomas Robert Malthus (; 13/14 February 1766 – 23 December 1834) was an English cleric Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanit ...

Thomas Malthus
, Monckton Milnes,
Sydney Smith Sydney Smith (3 June 1771 – 22 February 1845) was an English wit, writer, and Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of Eng ...

Sydney Smith
,
John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), also cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher, Political economy, political economist, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) and civil servant. One of the most i ...
,
Edward Bulwer-Lytton Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, PC (25 May 180318 January 1873) was an English writer and politician. He served as a Whigs (British political party), Whig member of Parliament from 1831 to 1841 and a Conservative P ...
,
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Elizabeth Barrett Browning (née Moulton-Barrett; ; 6 March 1806 – 29 June 1861) was an English poet of the Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom The history of the United Kingdom began in the early eighteenth ...

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
, Sarah Austin, and
Charles Lyell Sir Charles Lyell, 1st Baronet, (14 November 1797 – 22 February 1875) was a Scottish geologist who demonstrated the power of known natural causes in explaining the earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astro ...

Charles Lyell
, as well as
Jane Welsh Carlyle Jane Welsh Carlyle (14 January 1801 – 21 April 1866) was a Scottish writer. She did not publish any work in her lifetime, but she was widely seen as an extraordinary letter writer. Virginia Woolf called her one of the "great letter writers ...
and
Thomas Carlyle Thomas Carlyle (4 December 17955 February 1881) was a Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family native to Sco ...

Thomas Carlyle
. She met
Florence Nightingale Florence Nightingale (; 12 May 182013 August 1910) was an English social reformer A reform movement is a type of social movement Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction i ...

Florence Nightingale
,
Charlotte Brontë Charlotte Brontë (, commonly ; 21 April 1816 – 31 March 1855) was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Brontë family, Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood and whose novels became classics of English literature. ...

Charlotte Brontë
,
George Eliot Mary Ann Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880; alternatively Mary Anne or Marian), known by her pen name A pen name, also called a ''nom de plume'' () or a literary double, is a pseudonym (or, in some cases, a variant form of a real n ...

George Eliot
and
Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian e ...

Charles Dickens
later on in her literary career. Until 1834 Martineau was occupied with her brother James on the
political economy Political economy is the study of production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ( ...
series, as well as a supplemental series of ''Poor Laws and Paupers Illustrated and Illustrations of Taxation'' which was intended to directly influence government policy. About the same time, she published four stories expressing support of the
Whig Whig or Whigs may refer to: Parties and factions In the British Isles * A pejorative nickname for the Kirk Party The Kirk Party were a radical Presbyterian faction of the Scotland, Scottish Covenanters during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. ...
Poor Law In English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World lang ...
reforms. These tales (direct, lucid, written without any appearance of effort, and yet practically effective) display the characteristics of their author's style.
Tory A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, ...
paternalists reacted by calling her a
Malthusian Malthusianism is the idea that Malthusian growth model, population growth is potentially exponential while the growth of the food supply or other resources is linear growth, linear, which eventually reduces living standards to the point of triggeri ...
"who deprecates charity and provision for the poor", while Radicals opposed her to the same degree. Whig high society fêted her. In May 1834
Charles Darwin Charles Robert Darwin (; ; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that fu ...

Charles Darwin
, on his expedition to the Galapagos Islands, received a letter from his sisters saying that Martineau was "now a great Lion in London, much patronized by Ld. Brougham who has set her to write stories on the poor Laws" and recommending ''Poor Laws and Paupers Illustrated'' in
pamphlet A pamphlet is an unbound book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more te ...

pamphlet
-sized parts. They added that their brother
Erasmus Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (; English: Erasmus of Rotterdam;''Erasmus'' was his baptismal name, given after St. Erasmus of Formiae. ''Desiderius'' was a self-adopted additional name, which he used from 1496. The ''Roterodamus'' was a schol ...
"knows her & is a very great admirer & every body reads her little books & if you have a dull hour you can, and then throw them overboard, that they may not take up your precious room". In 1834, after completing the economic series, Harriet Martineau paid a long visit to the United States during which she visited a great many people, some little known, others as famous as
James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited wi ...

James Madison
, the former US president, at his home at Montpelier. She also met numerous abolitionists in Boston and studied the emerging schools for the education of girls. Her support of
abolitionism Abolitionism, or the abolitionist movement, was the movement to end slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is t ...
, then widely unpopular across the U.S., caused controversy, which her publication, soon after her return, of ''Society in America'' (1837) and ''How to Observe Morals and Manners'' (1838), only fuelled. The two books are considered significant contributions to the then-emerging field of sociology. In ''Society in America'', Martineau angrily criticised the state of women's education. She wrote, Her article "The Martyr Age of the United States" (1839), in the ''
Westminster Review The ''Westminster Review'' was a quarterly British publication. Established in 1823 as the official organ of the Philosophical Radicals, it was published from 1824 to 1914. James Mill was one of the driving forces behind the liberalism, liberal j ...
'', introduced English readers to the struggles of the abolitionists in America several years after Britain had abolished slavery. In October 1836, soon after returning from the voyage of the ''Beagle'', Charles Darwin went to London to stay with his brother
Erasmus Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (; English: Erasmus of Rotterdam;''Erasmus'' was his baptismal name, given after St. Erasmus of Formiae. ''Desiderius'' was a self-adopted additional name, which he used from 1496. The ''Roterodamus'' was a schol ...
. He found him spending his days "driving out Miss Martineau", who had returned from her trip to the United States. Charles wrote to his sister,
Our only protection from so admirable a sister-in-law is in her working him too hard." He commented, "She already takes him to task about his idleness — She is going some day to explain to him her notions about marriage — Perfect equality of rights is part of her doctrine. I much doubt whether it will be equality in practice.
The Darwins shared Martineau's Unitarian background and Whig politics, but their father
Robert The name Robert is an ancient Germanic given nameGermanic given names are traditionally dithematic; that is, they are formed from two elements, by joining a prefix A prefix is an affix which is placed before the stem of a word. Adding it ...
was concerned that, as a potential daughter-in-law, she was too extreme in her politics. Charles noted that his father was upset by a piece in the ''Westminster Review'' calling for the radicals to break with the Whigs and give working men the vote "before he knew it was not artineau's and wasted a good deal of indignation, and even now can hardly believe it is not hers". In early December 1836 Charles Darwin called on Martineau and may have discussed the social and natural worlds she was writing about in her book ''Society in America'', including the "grandeur and beauty" of the "process of world making" she had seen at
Niagara Falls Niagara Falls is a group of three waterfalls at the southern end of Niagara Gorge, spanning the Canada–United States border, border between the Provinces and territories of Canada, province of Ontario in Canada and the U.S. state, state o ...

Niagara Falls
. He remarked in a letter,
She was very agreeable and managed to talk on a most wonderful number of subjects, considering the limited time. I was astonished to find how little ugly she is, but as it appears to me, she is overwhelmed with her own projects, her own thoughts and own abilities. Erasmus palliated all this, by maintaining one ought not to look at her as a woman.
Significantly, Martineau's earlier popularization of
Thomas Malthus Thomas Robert Malthus (; 13/14 February 1766 – 23 December 1834) was an English cleric Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanit ...

Thomas Malthus
' theories of population control may have helped convince Charles to read Malthus, which provided the breakthrough ideas for his nascent theory of evolution. In April 1838 Charles wrote to his older sister Susan that
Erasmus has been with her noon, morning, and night: — if her character was not as secure, as a mountain in the polar regions she certainly would lose it. — Lyell called there the other day & there was a beautiful rose on the table, & she coolly showed it to him & said 'Erasmus Darwin' gave me that. — How fortunate it is, she is so very plain; otherwise I should be frightened: She is a wonderful woman.
Martineau wrote ''Deerbrook'' (1838), a
three-volume novel The three-volume novel (sometimes three-decker or triple decker) was a standard form of publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. ...
published after her American books. She portrayed a failed love affair between a physician and his sister-in-law. It was considered her most successful novel. She also wrote ''The Hour and the Man: An Historical Romance'' (1839), a three-volume novel about the Haitian slave leader
Toussaint L'Ouverture François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture (; also known as Toussaint L'Ouverture or Toussaint Bréda; 1743 – 7 April 1803) was a Haitian general and the most prominent leader of the Haitian Revolution The Haitian Revolution (french: R ...

Toussaint L'Ouverture
, who contributed to the island nation's gaining independence in 1804.


Newcastle and Tynemouth

In 1839, during a visit to
Continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', lite ...

Continental Europe
, Martineau was diagnosed with a uterine tumour. She several times visited her brother-in-law,
Thomas Michael Greenhow Thomas Michael Greenhow Doctor of Medicine, MD Membership of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, MRCS FRCS (5 July 1792 – 25 October 1881) was an English surgeon and epidemiologist. Career Greenhow was the second ...
, who was a celebrated doctor in
Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle upon Tyne ( , ), often simply Newcastle, is the largest city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedi ...

Newcastle upon Tyne
, to try to alleviate her symptoms. On the last occasion she stayed for six months in the Greenhow family house at 28 Eldon Square. Immobile and confined to a couch, she was cared for by her mother until purchasing a house and hiring a nurse to aid her. She next moved downriver to
Tynemouth Tynemouth () is a large town and former county borough in North Tyneside North Tyneside is a metropolitan borough in the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear, England. It forms part of the greater Tyneside conurbation. North Tyneside Counc ...

Tynemouth
, where she stayed at Mrs Halliday's boarding-house, 57 Front Street, for nearly five years from 16 March 1840. The establishment is still open as a guest house today, now named the "Martineau Guest House" in her honour. The critic Diana Postlethwaite wrote of this period for Martineau:
Being homebound is a major part of the process of becoming feminine. In this interior setting she (Martineau) is taught the home arts of working, serving, and cleaning, as well as the rehearsals for the role of mothering. She sees her mother... doing these things. They define femininity for her.
Her illness caused her to literally enact the social constraints of women during this time. Martineau wrote a number of books during her illness, and a historical plaque marks this house. In 1841 she published a series of four novels for children, ''The Playfellow'', comprising ''The Settlers at Home'', ''The Peasant and the Prince'', ''Feats on the Fiord'', and ''The Crofton Boys''. In 1844 she published ''Life in the Sickroom: Essays by an Invalid,'' an autobiographical reflection on invalidism. She wrote ''Household Education'' (1848), the handbook on the "proper" way to raise and educate children. Lastly, she began working on her autobiography. Completed much later, it included some hundred pages on this period. Notable visitors included Richard Cobden and Thomas and Jane Carlyle. ''Life in the Sickroom'' is considered to be one of Martineau's most under-rated works. It upset evangelical readers as they "thought it dangerous in 'its supposition of self-reliance'". This series of essays embraced traditional womanhood. Martineau dedicated it to
Elizabeth Barrett Elizabeth Barrett Browning (née Moulton-Barrett; ; 6 March 1806 – 29 June 1861) was an English poet of the Victorian era, popular in Britain and the United States during her lifetime. Born in County Durham, the eldest of 11 children, Elizabe ...
, as it was "an outpouring of feeling to an idealized female alter ego, both professional writer and professional invalid- and utterly unlike the women in her own family". Written during a kind of public break from her mother, this book was Martineau's proclamation of independence. At the same time, Martineau turned the traditional patient–doctor relationship on its head by asserting control over her space even in sickness. The sickroom was her space. ''Life in the Sickroom'' explained how to regain control even in illness. Alarmed that a woman was suggesting such a position in the power dynamic, critics suggested that, as she was an invalid, her mind must also be sick and the work was not to be taken seriously. ''British and Foreign Medical Review'' dismissed Martineau's piece on the same basis as the critics: an ill person cannot write a healthy work. They thought it was unheard of for a woman to suggest being in a position of control, especially in sickness. Instead, the ''Review'' recommended that patients follow "unconditional submission" to the advice of doctors. They disagreed with the idea that Martineau might hold any sort of "authority to Britain's invalids". Expecting to remain an invalid for the rest of her life, Martineau delighted in the new freedom of views using her
telescope A telescope is an optical instrument An optical instrument (or "optic" for short) is a device that processes light waves (or photons), either to enhance an image for viewing or to analyze and determine their characteristic properties. Common ...

telescope
. Across the Tyne was the sandy beach "where there are frequent wrecks — too interesting to an invalid... and above the rocks, a spreading heath, where I watch troops of boys flying their kites; lovers and friends taking their breezy walks on Sundays..." She expressed a lyrical view of Tynemouth:
When I look forth in the morning, the whole land may be sheeted with glittering snow, while the myrtle-green sea swells and tumbles... there is none of the deadness of winter in the landscape; no leafless trees, no locking up with ice; and the air comes in through my open upper sash brisk, but sun-warmed. The robins twitter and hop in my flower-boxes... And at night, what a heaven! What an expanse of stars above, appearing more steadfast, the more the Northern Lights dart and quiver!
During her illness, she for a second time declined a pension on the
civil list A civil list is a list of individuals to whom money In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contrasted with the beggar whose legs and arms were amputated, in the left corner">174x174px Money ...
, fearing to compromise her political independence. After publication of her letter on the subject, some of her friends raised a small
annuity An annuity is a series of payments made at equal intervals.Kellison, Stephen G. (1970). ''The Theory of Interest''. Homewood, Illinois: Richard D. Irwin, Inc. p. 45 Examples of annuities are regular deposits to a savings account A savings acco ...
for her soon after. In 1844 Martineau underwent a course of
mesmerism Animal magnetism, also known as mesmerism, was the name given by German doctor Franz Mesmer in the 18th century to what he believed to be an invisible natural force (''Lebensmagnetismus'') possessed by all living things, including humans, an ...
, returning to health after a few months. There was national interest in mesmerism at this time. Also known as 'animal magnetism', it can be defined as a "loosely grouped set of practices in which one person influenced another through a variety of personal actions, or through the direct influence of one mind on another mind. Mesmerism was designed to make invisible forces augment the mental powers of the mesmeric object." She eventually published an account of her case in 16 ''Letters on Mesmerism'', which caused much discussion. Her work led to friction with "the natural prejudices of a surgeon and a surgeon's wife" (i.e., her brother-in-law,
Thomas Michael Greenhow Thomas Michael Greenhow Doctor of Medicine, MD Membership of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, MRCS FRCS (5 July 1792 – 25 October 1881) was an English surgeon and epidemiologist. Career Greenhow was the second ...
and her sister, ).


Ambleside – views on religion, philosophical atheism, and Darwin

In 1845 she left
Tynemouth Tynemouth () is a large town and former county borough in North Tyneside North Tyneside is a metropolitan borough in the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear, England. It forms part of the greater Tyneside conurbation. North Tyneside Counc ...

Tynemouth
for
Ambleside Ambleside is a town in Cumbria, in North West England. Historic counties of England, Historically in Westmorland, it marks the head (and sits on the east side of the northern headwater) of Windermere, England's largest natural lake. In the Lak ...
in the
Lake District The Lake District, also known as the Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous for its lakes, forests and mountains (or ''fells''), and its associations with William Wordsworth ...

Lake District
, where she designed herself and oversaw the construction of the house called ''The Knoll, Ambleside'', where she spent the greater part of her later life. In 1845 she published three volumes of ''Forest and Game Law Tales''. In 1846, she resided with her elderly mother,
Elizabeth Elizabeth or Elisabeth may refer to: People * Elizabeth (given name), a female given name (including people with that name) * Elizabeth (biblical figure), mother of John the Baptist Ships * HMS Elizabeth, HMS ''Elizabeth'', several ships * Elisab ...

Elizabeth
, in Birmingham for some time, following which she then toured
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
, Palestine and
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
with some friends. On her return she published ''Eastern Life, Present and Past'' (1848), in which she reports a breakthrough realization standing on a prominence looking out across the
Nile The Nile, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nub ...

Nile
and desert to the tombs of the dead, where "the deceased crossed the living valley and river" to "the caves of the death region" where
Osiris Osiris (, from Egyptian ''wsjr'', Coptic ) is the god In monotheism, monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne ...

Osiris
the supreme judge "is to give the sign of acceptance or condemnation". Her summary: "the mortuary ideas of the primitive Egyptians, and through them, of the civilized world at large, have been originated by the everlasting conflict of the Nile and the Desert". This epiphany changed the course of her life. ''Eastern Life'' expressed her concept that, as humanity passed through one after another of the world's historic religions, the conception of the
deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as a God (male deity), god or goddess (in a polytheistic religion), or anything revered as divine. C. Scott Littleto ...

deity
and of divine government became at each step more and more abstract and indefinite. She believed the ultimate goal to be philosophic
atheism Atheism, in the broadest sense, is an absence of belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psy ...

atheism
, but did not explicitly say so in the book. She described ancient tombs, "the black pall of oblivion" set against the
paschal Paschal is used as a name. Paschal, a variant of Pascal (disambiguation), Pascal, from Latin ''Paschalis'', is an adjective describing either the Easter or Passover holidays. People known as Paschal include: Popes and religious figures * Antipo ...
"puppet show" in the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, hy, Սուրբ Հարության տաճար, la, Ecclesia Sancti Sepulchri, am, የቅዱስ መቃብር ቤተክርስቲያን, he, כנסיית הקבר, ar, كنيسة القيامة is a church i ...

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
, and noted that Christian beliefs in reward and punishment were based on and similar to
heathen__NOTOC__ Heathen or Heathens may refer to: Religion *Heathen, another name for a pagan Paganism (from classical Latin ''pāgānus'' "rural", "rustic", later "civilian") is a term first used pejoratively in the fourth century by early Christia ...
superstition A superstition is any belief or practice considered by non-practitioners to be irrational or supernatural, attributed to fate or magic (supernatural), magic, perceived supernatural influence, or fear of that which is unknown. It is commonly ap ...
s. Describing an
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

ancient Egypt
ian tomb, she wrote, "How like ours were his life and death!... Compare him with a retired naval officer made country gentleman in our day, and in how much less do they differ than agree!" The book's "
infidel An infidel (literally "unfaithful") is a person accused of disbelief in the central tenets one's own religion, such as members of another religion, or the irreligious Irreligion, or nonreligion, is the absence or rejection of religion, or ind ...
tendency" was too much for the publisher
John MurrayJohn Murray or John Murry may refer to: Arts and media Literature and music *John Murray (publishing house), a British publishing house, founded by John Murray (1745–1793) *John Murray (publisher, born 1778) (died 1843), second head of the pub ...
, who rejected it. Martineau's biographer, Florence Fenwick Miller, wrote that "all her best moral and intellectual faculties were exerted, and their action becomes visible, at one page or another" of this work. ''Eastern Life, Present and Past'' marked an important chapter in Martineau's life as it documented her move away from Unitarianism towards atheism, which was never fully achieved. This shifting of religiosity can best be seen in her instruction to travel with the hopes of gaining a historical understanding of holy places and in her critiques on biblical literalism, as influenced by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. ''Eastern Life, Present and Past'' is also important historically, as Billie Melman notes, it was the "first feminine travelogue proper that is not an account of a pilgrimage." In her doing so, Martineau's so-called "anti-pilgrimage" became an important point in the growth of female academia, as well as an addition to the growing field of Egyptology. Martineau wrote ''Household Education'' in 1848, lamenting the state of women's education. She believed women had a natural inclination to motherhood and believed domestic work went hand in hand with academia for a proper, well-rounded education. She stated, "I go further than most persons... in desiring thorough practice in domestic occupations, from an early age, for young girls". She proposed that freedom and rationality, rather than command and obedience, are the most effectual instruments of education. Her interest in schemes of instruction led her to start a series of lectures, addressed at first to the school children of Ambleside, but afterward extended to their parents at the request of the adults. The subjects were sanitary principles and practice, the History of England, histories of England and History of North America, North America, and the scenes of her Eastern travels. At the request of the publisher Charles Knight (publisher), Charles Knight, in 1849 she wrote ''The History of the Thirty Years' Peace, 1816–1846'', an excellent popular history from the point of view of a "philosophical Radical". Martineau spanned a wide variety of subject matter in her writing and did so with more assertiveness than was expected of women at the time. She has been described as having an "essentially masculine nature". It was commonly thought that a "progressive" woman, in being progressive, was improperly emulating the qualities of a man. Martineau's work included a widely used guide book to the
Lake District The Lake District, also known as the Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous for its lakes, forests and mountains (or ''fells''), and its associations with William Wordsworth ...

Lake District
, ''A Complete Guide to the English Lakes'', published in 1855 and in its 4th edition by 1876. This served as the definitive guidebook for the area for 25 years, effectively replacing the earlier Guide to the Lakes, guide by William Wordsworth, and continued in common usage until the publication of M. J. B. Baddeley, Baddeley's ''Thorough Guide to the English Lake District'' in 1880. Martineau edited a volume of ''Letters on the Laws of Man's Nature and Development'', published in March 1851. Its epistolary form is based on correspondence between her and the self-styled scientist Henry G. Atkinson. She expounded the doctrine of philosophical atheism, which she thought the tendency of human belief. She did not deny a Cosmological argument, first cause but declared it Agnosticism, unknowable. She and Atkinson thought they affirmed man's moral obligation. Atkinson was a zealous exponent of mesmerism. The prominence given to the topics of mesmerism and clairvoyance heightened the general disapproval of the book. Literary London was outraged by its mesmeric evolutionism, evolutionary atheism, and the book caused a lasting division between Martineau, her beloved brother, James who had become a Unitarian cleric, and some of her friends. From 1852 to 1866, she contributed regularly to the ''The Daily News (UK), Daily News'', writing sometimes six leaders a week. She wrote over 1600 articles for the paper in total. It also published her ''Letters from Ireland'', written during a visit to that country in the summer of 1852. For many years she was a contributor to the ''
Westminster Review The ''Westminster Review'' was a quarterly British publication. Established in 1823 as the official organ of the Philosophical Radicals, it was published from 1824 to 1914. James Mill was one of the driving forces behind the liberalism, liberal j ...
''; in 1854 she was among financial supporters who prevented its closing down. Martineau believed she had experienced psychosomatic symptoms and later benefits from mesmerism; this medical belief of the times related the uterus to emotions and hysteria. She had symptoms of hysteria in her loss of taste and smell. Her partial deafness throughout life may have contributed to her problems. Various people, including the maid, her brother, and Spencer T. Hall (a notable mesmerist) performed mesmerism on her. Some historians attribute her apparent recovery from symptoms to a shift in the positioning of her tumor so that it no longer obstructed other organs. As the physical improvements were the first signs of healing she had in five years and happened at the same time of her first mesmeric treatment, Martineau confidentially credited mesmerism with her "cure". She continued her political activism during the late 1850s and 1860s. She supported the Married Women's Property Bill and in 1856 signed a petition for it organised by Barbara Bodichon. She also pushed for licensed prostitution and laws that addressed the customers rather than the women. She supported women's suffrage and signed Bodichon's petition in its favour in 1866. In the early part of 1855, Martineau was suffering from heart disease. She began to write her autobiography, as she expected her life to end. Completing the book rapidly in three months, she postponed its publication until after her death, and lived another two decades. It was published posthumously in 1877. When Darwin's book ''The Origin of Species'' was published in 1859, his brother Erasmus sent a copy to his old flame Harriet Martineau. At age 58, she was still reviewing from her home in the Lake District. From her "snow landscape", Martineau sent her thanks, adding that she had previously praised
the quality & conduct of your brother's mind, but it is an unspeakable satisfaction to see here the full manifestation of its earnestness & simplicity, its sagacity, its industry, & the patient power by which it has collected such a mass of facts, to transmute them by such sagacious treatment into such portentous knowledge. I should much like to know how large a proportion of our scientific men believe he has found a sound road.
Martineau supported Darwin's theory because it was not based in theology. Martineau strove for secularism stating, "In the present state of the religious world, Secularism ought to flourish. What an amount of sin and woe might and would then be extinguished." She wrote to her fellow Thomas Malthus, Malthusian (and atheist) George Holyoake enthusing, "What a book it is! – overthrowing (if true) revealed Religion on the one hand, & Natural (as far as Final Causes & Design are concerned) on the other. The range & mass of knowledge take away one's breath." To Fanny Wedgwood (the wife of Hensleigh Wedgwood) she wrote,
I rather regret that C.D. went out of his way two or three times to speak of "The Creator God, Creator" in the popular sense of the First Cause.... His subject is the "Origin of Species" & not the origin of Organisation; & it seems a needless mischief to have opened the latter speculation at all – There now! I have delivered my mind.


Economics and social sciences

Harriet Martineau propounds political economic theories in ''Illustrations of Political Economy''. She is seen as a frontrunner who merges fiction and economy in a time period when "fiction claimed authority over emotional knowledge, while economics claimed authority over empirical knowledge". Moreover, Martineau's text sets the stage for women to enter into economics. For example, Dalley Lana explains that "by bringing the topic of domestic economy to bear on political economy, Martineau places women more centrally within economic theory and practice. In this context, women – as readers of the ''Illustrations'' and as characters with the tales – are not only rendered a part of larger-scale economics but also (because of their participation) encourage to learn the principles of political economy." As early as 1831, Martineau wrote on the subject "Political Economy" (as the field of economics was then known). Her goal was to popularise and illustrate the principles of ''laissez faire'' capitalism, though she made no claim to original theorising. Martineau's reflections on ''Society in America'', published in 1837, are prime examples of her sociological methods. Her ideas in this field were set out in her 1838 book ''How to Observe Morals and Manners''. She believed that some very general social laws influence the life of any society, including the principle of progress, the emergence of science as the most advanced product of human intellectual endeavour, and the significance of population dynamics and the natural physical environment.
Auguste Comte Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte (; 19 January 1798 – 5 September 1857) was a French philosophy, French philosopher and writer who formulated the doctrine of positivism. He is often regarded as the first Philosophy of science, phil ...

Auguste Comte
coined the name sociology and published a lengthy exposition under the title of ''Cours de Philosophie Positive'' in 1839. Martineau undertook a concise translation that was published in two volumes in 1853 as ''The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte (freely translated and condensed by Harriet Martineau)''. It was a remarkable achievement, and a successful one; Comte recommended her volumes to his students instead of his own. Some writers regard Martineau as the first female sociologist. Her introduction of Comte to the English-speaking world and the elements of sociological perspective in her original writings support her credit as a sociologist.


Death

Harriet Martineau died of bronchitis at "The Knoll" on 27 June 1876. She was buried alongside her mother in Key Hill Cemetery, Hockley, West Midlands, Hockley, Birmingham. The following April, at Bracondale, her cousin's estate, much of Martineau's extensive art collection was sold at auction.


Memorial

Her name is listed on the east face of the Reformers Memorial in Kensal Green cemetery in London.


Legacy

She left an autobiographical sketch to be published by the ''Daily News'', in which she wrote:
Her original power was nothing more than was due to earnestness and intellectual clearness within a certain range. With small imaginative and suggestive powers, and therefore nothing approaching to genius, she could see clearly what she did see, and give a clear expression to what she had to say. In short, she could popularize while she could neither discover nor invent.
In 1877 her autobiography was published. It was rare for a woman to publish such a work, let alone one secular in nature. Her book was regarded as dispassionate, "philosophic to the core" in its perceived masculinity, and a work of necessitarianism. She deeply explored childhood experiences and memories, expressing feelings of having been deprived of her mother's affection, as well as strong devotion to her brother James Martineau, a theologian. Anthony Giddens and Simon Griffiths argue that Martineau is a neglected founder of sociology and that she remains important today. She taught that study of the society must include all its aspects, including key political, religious and social institutions, and she insisted on the need to include the lives of women. She was the first sociologist to study such issues as marriage, children, religious life, and race relations. Finally, she called on sociologists to do more than just observe, but also work to benefit the society. In February 2014, it was reported that London's National Portrait Gallery, London, National Portrait Gallery held several portraits of Harriet, whose great nephew, Lupton family, Francis Martineau Lupton, was the great–great–grandfather of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, the gallery's patron. Harriet was close to her niece Frances Lupton, who worked to open up Female education#Modern period, educational opportunities for women.


Bibliography


Books

*''Illustrations of taxation''; 5 volumes; Charles Fox, 1834 *''Illustrations of Political Economy''; 9 volumes; Charles Fox, 1834 *''Miscellanies''; 2 volumes; Hilliard, Gray and Co., 1836 *''Society in America''; 3 volumes; Saunders and Otley, 1837; (reissued by Cambridge University Press, 2009; )
Internet Archive
*''Retrospect of Western Travel''; Saunders and Otley, 1838, (Project Gutenber
Volume 1Volume 2
*''How to Observe Morals and Manners''; Charles Knight and Co, 1838
Google BooksProject Gutenberg
*''Deerbrook''; London, 1839
Project Gutenberg
*''The Hour and the Man: An Historical Romance'', 1839
Project Gutenberg
*''The Playfellow'' (comprising ''The Settlers at Home'', ''The Peasant and the Prince'', ''Feats on the Fiord'', and ''The Crofton Boys''); Charles Knight (publisher), Charles Knight, 1841 *''Life in the Sickroom'', 1844 *''The Billow and the Rock'', 1846 *''Household Education'', 1848
Project Gutenberg
*''Eastern Life. Present and Past''; 3 volumes; Edward Moxon, 1848 *''The History of the Thirty Years' Peace, A.D. 1816–1846'' (1849) *''Feats on the Fiord. A Tale of Norway''; Routledge, Warne, & Routledge, 1865
Project Gutenberg
*''Harriet Martineau's Autobiography. With Memorials by Maria Weston Chapman''; 2 volumes; Smith, Elder & Co, 1877
Liberty Fund
*''A Complete Guide to the English Lakes''; John Garnett 1855 and later editions *H. G. Atkinson and H. Martineau, ''Letters on the Laws of Man's Nature and Development''; Chapman, 1851 (reissued by Cambridge University Press, 2009; ) *A. Comte, tr. H. Martineau, ''The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte''; 2 volumes; Chapman, 1853 (reissued by Cambridge University Press, 2009; )


Archives

The Cadbury Research Library (University of Birmingham) holds three archive collections concerning Harriet Martineau: her papers and correspondence, letters additional, and the Martineau family papers.


See also

*History of feminism *List of sociologists *List of suffragists and suffragettes


Notes


References

*Fenwick Miller, ''Harriet Martineau'' (1884, "Eminent Women Series") * *Paul L. Riedesel, "Who Was Harriet Martineau?", ''Journal of the History of Sociology'', vol. 3, 1981. pp. 63–80 *Robert K. Webb, ''Harriet Martineau, a Radical Victorian'', Heinemann, London 1960 *Gaby Weiner, "Harriet Martineau: A reassessment (1802–1876)", in Dale Spender (ed.), ''Feminist Theorists: Three Centuries of Key Women Thinkers,'' Pantheon 1983, pp. 60–74 * ;Attribution *


Further reading

*Chapman Maria Weston, ''Autobiography, with Memorials'' (1877). Virago, London 1983 *Brian Conway and Michael R. Hill, 2009
Harriet Martineau and Ireland
'' In: Social Thought on Ireland in the Nineteenth Century. University College Dublin Press, Dublin, pp. 47–66. * * * * *Ella Dzelzainis and Cora Kaplan, eds. ''Harriet Martineau: Authorship, Society, and Empire'' (Manchester University Press, 2011); 263 pp.; essays on her views of race, empire, and history, including the 1857 Indian Mutiny and the Atlantic slave trade *Lana L. Dalley
"On Martineau's ''Illustrations of Political Economy'', 1832–34.”
''BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History'', ed. Dino Franco Felluga. Extension of ''Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net''. Web. Essay on Martineau's burgeoning career as a writer, which demarcates a time period economical upheaval *Shelagh Hunter, ''Harriet Martineau: The Poetics of Moralism''. Scolar Press: 1995 *Valerie Kossew Pichanick, ''Harriet Martineau: The Woman and Her Work, 1802–76''. University of Michigan Press: 1980 *Vera Wheatley, ''The Life and Work of Harriet Martineau''. Essential Books: 1957


External links

* * * * * *
Martineau Society (.co.uk)Essays by Harriet Martineau
Quotidiana.org
The positive philosophy of Auguste Comte / freely translated and condensed by Harriet Martineau
Cornell University Library Historical Monographs Collection. *
Guide to the Harriet Martineau Papers
The Bancroft Library *Papers of Harriet Martineau are held at The Women's Library at th
Library of the London School of Economics
re
7HRM''Retrospect of Western Travel'' by Harriet Martineau, 1838
spartacus-educational.com *
Letters from Harriet Martineau mainly to Sarah Martineau at Cumbria Archive Centre, Kendal
{{DEFAULTSORT:Martineau, Harriet 1802 births 1876 deaths 19th-century atheists 19th-century British philosophers 19th-century British translators 19th-century British women scientists 19th-century British writers 19th-century economists 19th-century English women writers British atheism activists British classical liberals British women essayists Burials at Key Hill Cemetery Classical economists Deaf people from England Deaf writers English abolitionists English atheists English people of French descent English sociologists English suffragists English translators English Unitarians English women philosophers Feminism and history People from Ambleside Writers from Norwich Positivists Structural functionalism Victorian novelists Victorian women writers Women of the Victorian era British women sociologists Works originally published in Once a Week (magazine)