ブロンテ姉妹の祖父トーマス・ブランウェルは、コーンウォール地方の成功した商人として知られていました。しかしながら、ブランウェルには、危険な密輸入業者という裏の顔があったということです。この事実を発見したのは、ブロンテ姉妹の母マリアについて著わした「The Mother of the Brontës: When Maria Met Patrick」の著者、シャロン・ライトさんです。ライトさんは、ブロンテ姉妹が生まれるはるか前の1791年に書かれた書類の中に、祖父ブランウェルが、殺人未遂事件に関わり、「コーンウォールで最も悪名高い密輸入業者」として記録されているのを発見しました。
The Brontë sisters are two of the most famous female English authors of the Victorian era. Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights are famous in Japan and worldwide and have been adapted to film and television a number of times in the UK. The Brontë Sisters’ first novels were self-published, and it was supposedly their grandfather who supported them financially. Recent research has shown that he was in fact a smuggler, and that he left a large amount of the money made from these illicit activities to his granddaughters.
The sisters’ Grandfather, Thomas Branwell, has always been known as a successful merchant of the Cornwall region, but the truth is that he was secretly involved with dangerous smugglers. Sharon Wright made this discovery while researching Branwell’s daughter Maria for her book, The Mother of the Brontës: When Maria Met Patrick. She discovered documents from before the sisters were born that showed that he was involved with men wanted for murder and described as “the most notorious smugglers in that part of the kingdom.”
Wright says she was shocked to discover the dark side of the Brontë sisters’ grandfather. No one has ever made the connection between the Brontë sisters and their grandfather’s smuggling activities. It is now believed that it was money made from these illegal activities and left to the sisters that was used to publish such classics as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The world never would have seen these literary treasures without Branwell’s involvement with murderous smugglers.