Edited by Robert W. Dimand, Mary Ann Dimand and Evelyn L. Forget
Jane Haldimand Marcet
(1769–1858) Jane Haldimand Marcet was the oldest of ten children of Anthony (Antoine) Haldimand, a Swiss citizen, and Jane Pickersgill, an English woman. She grew up in London where her father was a very prosperous banker and realestate developer. She was educated at home by tutors and was taught the same subjects as were her brothers. Due to her mother’s death in childbirth, she was catapulted into adulthood at the age of 15. Her new role required that she supervise a large household and act as hostess for her father’s frequent and lavish parties. He entertained at least twice a week and invited bankers, scientists, writers, politicians and visitors to London. At these opulent gatherings, she became conversant with the important ideas and events current at the turn of the nineteenth century. Here she also met her future husband, Alexander Marcet, a London physician and Swiss citizen. Jane Haldimand had been engaged to a cousin in the British navy, but broke off the engagement due to her father’s continuing disapproval of her ﬁancé’s character. Thus, she found herself a 30-year-old spinster with no marriage plans. Her father disapproved of men who left large bequests in their wills to male heirs and much smaller amounts to females. Accordingly, she stood to inherit a full share of the Haldimand banking empire and this made her a very rich woman. As word spread that her engagement had been renounced, many men presented themselves. Her father allowed her to choose among them,...
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