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Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker
by S. Weir Mitchell
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Hugh Wynne is a work of accurate historical fiction set in the early years of America during the time of General George Washington. A descendant of a long line of Welsh squires, Hugh Wynne is a Quaker who possesses a firm loyal character. He is the narrator of the story, supplementing it with extracts from the diary of his friend, Jack Warder. When a Tory cousin, Captain Arthur Wynne, insulted his mother, Hugh knocked him down and precipitated a bitter feud. The course of the Revolution is followed with descriptions of the Meschianza Ball given in honor of General William Howe, the siege of Yorktown, Andre's execution, and the Battle of Germantown, during which Hugh is taken prisoner.
S. Weir Mitchell (1829-1914) was a prominent 19th Century Philadelphia physician, novelist and poet. Of this colonial history novel Mitchell wrote, "Of course Hugh Wynne is regarded as the book which is likely to have any continuous life." Mitchell was well known during his lifetime as a nerve specialist who advocated a rest cure that incorporated overfeeding and no interruptions from outside the family. Among his most famous patients was the feminist theorist, socialist and suffragist Charlotte Perkins Gilman who wrote The Yellow Wallpaper about a woman driven mad by her husband who followed Mitchell's type of absolute bed rest and isolation from the stimulus of the outside world.
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