“The first & most important of all considerations to a human Being is Religion . . .” –George Austen’s “Memorandums” to Francis Austen, 1788
Jane Austen had a brother named Francis, just a year and a half older than she was. (She called him Frank.) At age 14 1/2 he went off to sea, after two years at the Naval Academy in Portsmouth. (Yes, Portsmouth was where Fanny Price of Mansfield Park came from.)
Their father, George Austen, wrote Frank a letter giving him much advice about his relationships with God and with other people. The paragraph on his spiritual life is quite rich. I’ve quoted it in full this week at “Jane Austen’s World,” and expanded on what it would have meant to Frank. It gives great insights on the faith environment that Jane Austen grew up in.
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