Gottingen is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany. The town was likely founded between 1150 and 1180, and the River Leine runs through the city. Gottingen is famous for its university, which was founded in 1734 and became the most visited university in Europe. It was the site of the protests of the Gottingen Seven: seven professors whose protests against the abolition of the constitution of Hanover and the sovereignty of the kings. These professors included the fairy tale writers Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, historian Georg Gottfried Gervinus, and theologian and orientalist Heinrich Ewald.


Latitude: 51.532737572060
Longitude: 9.935088159400

Timeline of Events Associated with Gottingen

Date Event Manage
26 Jun 1830

William IV

William IV was the Duke of Clarence before becoming King of Hanover and Great Britain and Ireland from 1830 until his death in 1837, (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “William IV.” Encyclopædia Britannica). Born August 21, 1765, he was the third son of King George III, who was the King when the American colonies declared their independence in 1776, (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica “William IV.” Encyclopædia Britannica). William fought against the colonies in the Revolutionary War after joining the Royal Navy at age 13, hence his nickname of "the Sailor King", (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “William IV.” Encyclopædia Britannica)

He had a variety of love affairs during his time in the navy, which he left in 1790 after angering many of the officers he worked with and embarrassing his father with his bedroom exploits, accoriding to The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “William IV.” Encyclopædia Britannica. He fathered 10 illegitimate with Dorothea Jordan between 1794 and 1807, before marrying Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen in July 1818, (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “William IV.” Encyclopædia Britannica). He succeeded his brother, George IV, as king and eventually signed the Reform Act of 1832, although somewhat begrudgingly, which ultimately reduced the power of the monarch and aristocracy and instead placed more power into the hands of parliament, the elected governing body in Britain equivalent to our Congress, (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “William IV.” Encyclopædia Britannica). His death resulted in the end of a ruling era by his line in which they controlled both Britain and Hanover (Germany).

What's interesting is that William IV is one of the few topics that Standish regularly discusses. A strong comparison can be drawn between Featherstone and George IV, William's older brother who he succeeded as king. Both Featherstone and George IV were old and failing in health, but took a while to actually die, and both were miserly and cranky and clung to life. Therefore, it's interesting that Standish should in a way replace Featherstone as the benefactor by reading out the will and being the physical vessel that announces who gets what according to Featherstone's wishes. Standish replaces Featherstone just as William replaced George almost. 

If I remember correctly, George IV also lived lavishly and was resented for it to a degree, which is similar to the way Featherstone is described early in Chapter 34, "He loved money, but he also loved to spend it in gratifying his peculiar tastes, and perhaps he loved it best of all as a means of making others feel his power more or less uncomfortably," (Eliot, Ch. 34).

Since Featherstone has died in May, George IV is just dying as well and William IV will take over in another month. As I pointed out, he marked the end of his ruling line and was the first monarch to reduce his own power due to revolutionary political pressure that has been referenced and hinted at throughout the novel so far. The Whig party gained influence and represented non-aristocrats. This is yet another example of how Eliot beautifully and subtly weaves the tumultuous political and technological transformations occurring in the country at the time into her already intricate plotlines within Middlemarch and the novel as a whole. 

William IV replaced his extravagent brother and was seen as more of an "everyman" so to speak. He walked alone throughout London and Brighton and was thought of as somewhat approachable, (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “William IV.” Encyclopædia Britannica). The political landscape was shifting rapidly and his ascendancy caused a new parliamentary election, as was the custom, which resulted in more influence for the Whig party I previously mentioned. At the time of Featherstone's death these changes are all still brewing and exist largely as undertones ready to explode, but the whole country was aware of the shift that was happening. The average person was begining to gain a voice and influence. This is really interesting to me because of the fact that most of the novel's characters are who will be losing some of their authority in just two years' time when the Reform Act is passed and changes the landscape of parliamentary representation in the country. It reminds me of the change and turmoil here in America at the moment and really makes me relate to the novel.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “William IV.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 17 Aug. 2020,