The Milk of Wholesome Government: Elizabeth Clinton’s The Covntesse of Lincolnes Nvrserie

  • Madeline Bassnett
Part of the Early Modern Literature in History book series (EMLH)


This chapter addresses providentialism in relation to breastmilk and maternal nursing, situating divine gifts of food in the bodies of individual women. Published in 1622 amid another period of crop failure, Elizabeth Clinton’s pamphlet appears to respond to the proclamations of James I, which commanded the landed classes back to the countryside to preserve public order by offering hospitality and charity to the needy. In asserting the nutritive plenty supplied by her daughter-in-law Bridget Clinton, Elizabeth Clinton initially confirms her family’s participation in this nationally defined strategy of local and regional feeding. As this chapter proposes, however, the feeding that Clinton praises also anticipates the Puritan secessionism that would lead her daughters aboard the emigrant ship Arbella to Massachusetts in 1630. Local feeding can be nationally supportive, but as Clinton demonstrates, it might also gesture towards the new possibility of forming independent and transnational covenants with God.


Nursing Mother Woman Writer National Biography Maternal Breastfeed Maternal Nursing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Madeline Bassnett
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of English and Writing StudiesUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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