necreavit (necreavit) wrote in little_details,

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Catholics & Dissenters in Regency Romance.

So there's an AU fanfic I'd like to write someday as an AoS/Regency/Gothic romance. To do this right, I realize, requires an utter crap-load of research, so I'm officially aiming for Harlequin rather than Hornblower standards of historical accuracy. But I still have some major questions that Google and a skim of aos_resources and kiss_me_hardy aren't being helpful with. Even a few suggestions for Google keywords or historical names or books to look up would be really helpful.

The male lead keeps insisting to me that, as his first name is Fox, he comes from a Quaker family. And I can't seem to find anything useful about the general status of upper-class Quakers in Regency society. The best I've found is by looking up Elizabeth Fry, but it's hard to adapt her story to Recency romance tropes. So what I'd like to know is, how would a Quaker gentleman fit into Austen's Society? Would he be invited to balls and assemblies, be on the marriage mart, etc? And how much would being Quaker interfere with a political career and aspirations? Do I need to make him nominally C of E to make this work?

And then the *female* lead claims she's the eldest daughter of an Irish Catholic Naval officer. *Is* there such a thing as a Irish Catholic Naval officer in the Regency-- you had to be C of E to even be an officer, right? Or did you? You'd think that'd be easy to look up, but the best I can do is this, which seems to imply that legal conditions for Irish Catholics were changing during the Regency-- according to that link, in 1813 "The Duke of Norfolk succeeded in passing a bill, enabling Irish Roman Catholics to hold all such civil or military offices in England, as by the Act of 1793 they were entitled to hold in Ireland," and in 1817 a bill was passed opening all virtually ranks in the military to Catholics and Dissenters. Which doesn't actually clarify much. Do I need to make them C of E, or the parents officially C of E but the younger generation (including her Navy brothers) openly Catholic, or would being even culturally Irish Catholic mean that there would be few prospects in the Navy?

And should I even ask about other complications with an Irish Catholic navy brat marrying a Quaker baronet? Or should I just forget the religious issues and focus on the aliens and bodice-ripping instead ? q;
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