Posted by Shae on June 09, 2004
In Reply to: Re: What exactly is a "gentleman farmer" posted by Gary on June 09, 2004
: : in the context of 18th-century France? Is "landowner" anything like a synonym?
: Yes, although in the UK the term gentleman meant a little more. To be called a gentleman you would need to be:
: - male, obviously
: - landowning, or at least to have sufficient private income or funds not to have to work.
: - respectable. This would involve observing the rules of polite behaviour, not abusing your position of power, etc.
: For an example from Pride and Prejudice, the hero Darcy, having land, and caring for his unfortunate relatives, is a gentleman. Mr Bennet, having no land but a small private income and is quietly studious, also qualifies. Wickham, the villian, is from a wealthy family but, by seducing a vulnerable wench, doesn't live up to the moral code of decency and is therefore 'no gentleman'.
Dictionary.com provides the following:
n. pl. gentlemen farmers
A man of independent means who farms chiefly for pleasure rather than income.