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Harriet Arbuthnot and ‘the vortex of politics’


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In 1814, when Harriet Fane married Charles Arbuthnot, one of the joint secretaries of the Treasury, she was catapulted into ‘the vortex of politics’. The Journal of Mrs. Arbuthnot 1820-1832 not only reveals the inner workings of Tory party politics but also demonstrates how upper class women could play a serious role in party politics, despite society's constraints. Dr Stephen Lee, Deputy Head of Torquay Boys’ Grammar School, considers Mrs Arbuthnot’s contribution to the historical record, a diarist who 'was passionate, obsessed, charming, snobbish, generous, insightful, serious, loving, and hateful' - and never a mere gossip.  

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