From the discussion in class concerning the attitudes toward love matches in the 18th century I did find some relevant material to support the idea that love matches were encouraged by intellectuals, philosophers, writers and families during the 17th and 18th centuries. For those of you interested in the role of marriage and the reasons for marriage in the 17th and 18th centuries, I found two wonderful articles which address the topic. Most importantly these articles address the fact that attitudes began to change in the late 17th century and through the 18th century and romance and love matches played a larger role. While parents still influenced the choice of a partner more often love matches were encouraged and there was a strong belief that marriage should not be forced on unwilling partners.
I will scan in the relevant parts of the articles but I wanted to just put up the titles and databases in case any one was interested. I was researching a different novel however the time period is the same and the content of the articles are applicable to Clarissa's predicament.
1. On JSTOR "Changing Attitudes Toward Marriage in the Time of Defoe" David Blewett- author
2. ECCO- "Conjugal Lewdness and Matrimonial Whoredom"(1727)
3.JSTOR- "The Weightiest Business: Marriage in an Upper Gentry Family in 17th Century England " Miriam Slater