History of England, Part II From the Accession of Henry VIII to the Revolution of 1689

Tout, T. F. --Powell, F. York


CHAPTER VIII. England in the Seventeenth Century.


1. In contrast to the busy turmoil of the religious and political strife and the strenuous endeavour that won England a foremost place among the [1]  mercial nations of Europe and set up a widely comspreading system of colonies and dependencies, the steady development of English society during the seventeenth century seems tame and uneventful. There were no longer economic and social revolutions as in the days of the Tudors. The note of the time is gradual progress on the lines laid down in the age of . Neither the religious nor the political revolutions of the century had the least effect in checking the onward march. Even the Great Rebellion did little to hinder it, for the Puritan revolt was a purely religious and political movement, having no social aspect, since the Levellers, the only social reformers, never attained to power and did not even succeed in touching any strong chords of sympathy among the people. The same characteristics marked the social history of , which henceforward followed much the same lines as its southern neighbour. Even in , despite racial and religious hatred and the deep social changes resulting from the great confiscations, there was at least more peace and order and a higher measure of material prosperity in the days of the Restoration, than when the memories of the Elizabethan and Cromwellian conquests were still fresh.

2. A prominent characteristic of the time is that expansion of foreign trade, which we have already traced. The effects of this on England were numerous and important. It gave increased weight to commercial [2]  questions, enhanced the wealth and Influence of the trading classes, raised the general standard of comfort, and profoundly influenced the


foreign policy of the English state. It swelled the receipts of the imperial exchequer, and enabled a larger income to be levied without inconvenience to the taxpayer. Thus the English navy, which . had with difficulty set in a good position with the help of Ship Money, was strengthened by the Long Parliament, and even the waste and extravagance of the Restoration did not prevent it from remaining efficient. An interest in shipping and colonies became the fashion, when the highest personages in the land, with the King and the Duke of York at their head, were conspicuous among the promoters of the new enterprises. Banking and finance attained to a new importance. The London [3] . goldsmiths, who kept persons' cash for them, and lent it out on interest to the state or to private individuals, became wealthy and influential. Men began to give serious thought to the theory of trade, and to those questions concerning the production and distribution of wealth which are called economic. There was a curious tendency to confuse wealth and money, which led to the export of specie being strictly forbidden. India merchants, who were forced to buy their wares in the East with silver, found that they had to contend with this general prejudice against sending money out of the country, by arguing that though they might export silver to begin with, yet they more than got it back again by their sales of eastern produce to foreigners. From this starting-point grew up the doctrine of the Mercantile [4]  System, that the advantage of foreign trade depends upon the amount of gold and silver which it brings into a country. If a trade thus brought in bullion, the Balance of Trade was said to be in our favour, but if it necessitated sending gold and silver away, then the balance was said to be against us. It was, therefore, a matter of supreme concern to make the exports exceed the imports, and the growth of exports involved the increase of manufactures and agriculture.

3. Manufactures steadily became more numerous and important, though there were no great revolutions in methods, and, despite all the efforts of the state to stimulate new crafts, England remained, till far [5]  beyond the end of the century, a commercial and agricultural rather than a manufacturing country, and depended on, Holland, and the East for the finer wares that were beyond the limited appliances and skill of English makers. Nevertheless after the Restoration the example


of Holland was largely followed, in this as in many other sides of our life, and manufacturing industry received a considerable stimulus. It was especially helped forward by the great Huguenot emigration resulting from the persecutions of Louis XIV., which brought to England a large population of skilled mechanics and small craftsmen, who introduced many new processes and gave the industries of our country an impetus that has never since slackened. Meanwhile the ancient staple manufacture of woollen cloth prospered increasingly, being so carefully fostered by the state, that an act of . even ordered that no bodies should be buried, save in a woollen shroud. [6]  From the early days of the Stewarts, British mines were opened up. The salt industry began to enrich Cheshire. The Tyneside colliers grew prosperous by providing London with "sea-coal" for fuel, and the Cornish tin mines and Welsh lead mines were developed on a larger scale. Agriculture greatly flourished, though all through the century there were [7]  spells of good and bad seasons that made the farmers' trade somewhat exceptionally speculative and uncertain. There was still much untilled soil, and a large proportion of the ploughed land was common field, cultivated in an extravagant and careless way after old-fashioned methods. Many enclosures of this open space were made, though enclosing was no longer effected for the sake of sheep-farming, but rather for the encouragement of better methods of tillage, and preserving the young crops by tall hedgerows from nipping winds or trespassing cattle. Rents rose and made the landed gentry more prosperous. Though some of the countrysquires were rustic and clownish, the class that produced all the great political leaders of the century was wanting neither in intelligence, education, nor ability. The increased rent-rolls of the landlords did not prevent farmers from thriving as well. One result of the demand for more land was the success of great schemes for draining the Fen country. For the first time since the [8]  Reformation, the draining work of the great abbeys was taken up by the landlords who had supplanted them, and especially by the Earl of Bedford. At this nobleman's instance a Dutch engineer named Cornelius Vermuyden, who had come to England in , undertook the great work which turned BedfordLevel, in the north of Cambridgeshire, from its old condition of an unhealthy and scantily peopled desert into the best corn


land of the country. . encouraged the enterprise and made Vermuyden a knight, but the work was much interrupted by the Great Rebellion and the hostility of the fenmen to Vermuyden and his foreigners. It was at last completed in , still under his direction. Vermuyden also drained Hatfield Chase, on the borders of Lincolnshire and by diverting the waters of the Don. The new straight "cuts" dug by the engineers served also for navigation, and all over the country efforts were made, though as yet they were but feeble ones, to make rivers more easily navigable and thus to improve internal communications.

4. The peasantry shared in the increasing prosperity. Wages rose as well as rents and prices, and the attempts, started in Tudor times, to leave the Justices of [9]  the Peace to settle the rate of wages were practically a dead letter, for employers who wanted a man's work were willing to pay him what he asked and what they knew they could afford, even if the magistrates persisted in fixing on a lower rate of remuneration. The increase in the habit of tippling, and the efforts to check it by regulating alehouses, show at least that labourers had money to spend on what was not a matter of necessity, Pauperism, so terrible a trouble under the Tudors, distinctly became less burdensome under the Stewarts. Yet it still remained a real evil, and the unequal distribution of the poor made their relief very burdensome in certain unlucky districts, especially as vagrants gladly settled in places where there were large commons, abundance of wood, and other attractions to them, so that some spots became pauperised because of their wealth. In the hope of remedying this state of things, the Restoration Parliament passed the Act of Settlement of , the chief law of the period affecting the condition of the poor. By it each parish was allowed to remove to the place, where he had previously had a legal settlement, [10] a newcomer within forty days of his arrival, if there were any likelihood of his becoming chargeable to the parish. By thus throwing the obligation of supporting the poor on the parishes in which they were born or had long resided, a great blow was given to vagrancy, but in future times the check in the free movement of labour from place to place tied the artisan, like a slave, to the spot of his birth and prevented him from going to the district where his services were most wanted.


5. Population grew, though not very rapidly. Towards the end of the century it was estimated that England and contained about five million inhabitants. [11]  The north was still poor and scantily peopled, and the increase of population and wealth was mainly in the south and east. The growth of commerce [12]  enriched and enlarged the seaport towns, and especially London, which was then the only really great town in the whole of England. While Bristol and Norwich, the next towns in size, had not more than 30,000 inhabitants each, half a million were collected in [13]  and about the capital. This inequality made London an even greater influence on politics, fashion, and opinion than it is nowadays. The hostility of London to . had supplied his opponents with revenue and resources, and had been a very large factor in bringing about his fall. Though the purse and brains of the City were powerless to resist the military rule of Cromwell and his army, London gladly threw off their yoke, and did even more to bring about the Restoration than it had done to promote the Great Rebellion, while twenty years later its support of Shaftesbury almost cost . his throne. London was even more important as an intellectual than as a political centre. Nearly all the ablest men lived in or near it; all the printing of the nation that was not done at the universities was done there. This strong influence of the capital may have had something to do with the hostility with which Tudors and Stewarts alike looked upon the continued growth of its population, though the ineffectual measures taken to prevent the extension of its suburbs had the full support of the City authorities, and were mainly due to the difficulty which the age saw in governing, feeding, and keeping healthy so vast a mass of human beings. The City wished to extend its boundaries so that all the inhabited ground should be divided between it and the city of , but this wise proposal came to nothing, and great ungoverned disorderly towns arose side by side with, yet having no part in, the capital. Their only advantages were that they were less overcrowded than the narrow area of the City, and less subject to the antiquated and oppressive rules of the City Companies, which restrained rather than encouraged the trades that they were meant to protect. The sanitary condition of City and suburbs alike was deplorable. The water supply drawn from the Thames was unhealthy and insufficient, though an improvement set


in when under . the New River Company brought a wholesome supply of running water from the streams of Hertfordshire. The wooden, closely-packed houses were in constant danger of fire, and plague was seldom long absent. It was hard to supply so great a mass of people with food; and the scarcity and dearness of wood for fuel was another real evil, until the Londoners unwillingly took to burning coal, which numerous small trading ships brought from Newcastle to their doors. The streets were dirty, ill-paved and badly lighted. The character of the roads made the river the easiest way of getting from one end of the town to the other, though nervous people were afraid to shoot the rapids, caused by the many arches of London Bridge. The police was extremely ineffective. Robbery was very common, and after dark bands of gentlemen amused themselves by assaulting and insulting passers-by. This nuisance became greater in the riotous days after the Restoration, and gave occasion to the famous lines in which Milton tells how,

"In luxurious cities, when the noise Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers, And injury and outrage: and when night Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons Of Belial, flushed with insolence and wine."

London extended itself on all sides. The court suburbs steadily grew in the west. In .'s time Inigo Jones laid out Lincoln's Inn Fields, then a very fashionable centre, and built his famous new church of St. Paul's Covent Garden. After the Restoration population flowed farther westwards, where the new parish of St. James' was filled with solid, sumptuous, and handsome houses. Poorer districts arose to the north and east of the city. Moorfields was built over after the Great Fire, and Spitalfields and Whitechapel became manufacturing centres, while Shadwell and Wapping throve by reason of the growth of the shipping trade. After the Great Fire in the City, brick replaced wood as a building material, and the streets were made broader and straighter; but the proposal of for rebuilding the town, on a more magnificent scale and an entirely new plan, was not carried out.

6. With all its drawbacks, life in London had plenty of attractions. Until the playhouses were in full swing, but they were closed by order of Parliament [14]  before the beginning of the Civil War, and were not opened until the Restoration. The Puritans


had long waged war against the drama, and its extravagances and corruptions gave them plenty of good arguments. They also condemned other favourite sports, such as cockfighting and bull- and bear-baiting, while sword and buckler play and many other recreations dropped out of use, since the Puritan rule prevented their being practised on Sunday, the only day that working people now had free. It was made a merit that the Puritan ordinance prohibiting work or sports on Sunday "shall not extend to prohibit dressing meat in private families." Yet all the austerity of Puritan rule did not prevent "many hundreds of rich coaches and gallants in attire, but most shameful powdered-hair men and painted and spotted women" frequenting Hyde Park, where the Lord Protector himself witnessed a hurling match, and was once overthrown from his coach, when he was driving six young horses. The exclusion of the majority of the younger gentry from public life during the Commonwealth had the bad effect of giving them nothing to do except to amuse themselves. Even before the Restoration the habit of making pleasure and frivolity the end of life had begun among the wealthier classes. In the mad reaction against Puritanism that followed the bringing back of the king, the pursuit of pleasure reigned for a time supreme.

The playhouses were re-opened, though the fashion for attending the theatre had so far dwindled that two small theatres, the Duke's and the King's, supplied [15]  the wants of those who frequented the drama in the days of the Restoration. Spectacular effects, that had never been employed in earlier times, save in the elaborate Masques that amused the court of . and ., were now introduced into the public theatres. Pepys tells us how the stage was now "a thousand times better and more glorious than heretofore," with fine scenery, brilliant dresses, and a stage blazing with wax candles, "where formerly there were not above three pounds of tallow." Women now for the first time acted in the female parts, and ballet dancing, brought in from, became popular.

Gentlemen exercised themselves at the manage, or riding school, and with fencing, tennis, and a game at ball called [16]  pall-mall, while they amused themselves with the fashionable sports of cock-fighting and horse-racing. When . went for racing to Newmarket, he saw a cock-fight after dinner and a play in the evening, acted in a barn by low-class travelling comedians.


It was a sign of the progress of refinement that the old national amusements of bull- and bear-baiting were no longer approved of in polite circles, though still extremely popular with the people. The bear-gardens were now also used for boxing and prize-fights with swords, in which some humane people complained of the horrible wounds the combatants inflicted on each other, though more perhaps grumbled that the fighters did not hit hard enough to show that they were in real earnest. The old London pleasure-grounds had been closed by the Puritans, but Vauxhall or the New Spring Garden was [17]  opened in , and . admitted the public to St. James's Park whither multitudes flocked to watch the king or the duke taking their exercise, feeding the ducks in the pond, or playing pall-mall, as Waller's poem commemorates:

"Here a well-polished mall gives us the joy To see our prince his matchless force employ No sooner has he touched the flying ball, But 'tis already more than half the mall."

For indoor resorts men of fashion now went, after the early dinner of the period, to the Coffee houses, which served the purposes of modern clubs, and were centres of gossip and society. Politics, [18]  theology, literature, and fashion were so freely discussed that lovers of old ways, like Clarendon, thought them seminaries of sedition, and wished to see them carefully watched. In . shut them up, and only allowed them to be re-opened on the landlords promising to prevent abuse of the Government. Coffee was first drunk in .'s time, but before that chocolate had come in, and was vaunted by its sellers as a specific against all sorts of diseases. Tea was introduced rather later by [19]  the Portuguese, and made popular by Catharine of Braganza. As Waller sang:

"Venus her myrtle, Phoebus has his bays; Tea both excels, which she vouchsafes to praise. The best of queens and best of herbs we owe To that bold nation which the way did show To the fair region where the sun does rise, Whose rich productions we so justly prize."

All these beverages had a great effect in changing social habits and making life more refined; but drunkenness was still too common in all classes of society. Gambling


became a wide-spread vice after . . was celebrated for bringing in a "politer way of living," but foreigners complained of the grossness of English repasts, and the rareness of forks. Men continued to wear their hats at feasts. There were still only two meals a day. Dinner was at one o'clock, and few took anything earlier but a "morning draught" of beer, with some bread and butter.

7. Despite the badness of communications, men flocked to London, and the Londoners began the habit of spending [20]  the summer at inland watering-places such as Bath or Tunbridge Wells, which latter became so much frequented by invalids that, after the Restoration, a church was built for their use, dedicated to Charles the Martyr. The poorer Londoners "took the waters" at Epsom, while Harrogate and Buxton stood in the same place to the northern gentry. Coaches, which under were a rare luxury, became common. Lumbering family carriages, drawn by six horses, slowly dragged the nobles and gentry from place to place over the miry roads, though active people, who wanted to travel fast, still rode on horseback. Carriers' waggons began to replace strings of packhorses for transporting goods, where water carriage was not available and the roads were good enough for wheeled traffic. They also afforded a slow but cheap way of travelling for poorer wayfarers unable to walk or ride. The first toll-bars were set up in on the Great North Road, and the money taken was used to mend the highway. Stage coaches began with the Commonwealth, though they were denounced as fatal to simplicity and the breed of horses. Under . flying coaches, as they were called, managed to travel more than fifty miles a day, getting, for example, from London to Oxford in twelve hours. Hackney coaches, plying for hire, began in London under the Commonwealth, and did something to divert traffic from the Thames. Glass coaches, i.e. coaches with glass windows, were luxuries used by fashionable people for taking the air. The labourers, who mended the roads, expected a gratuity from travellers, and it was quite customary to take a guide even for journeys along the highways. Under the Commonwealth a government postal system was set [21]  up, which the Restoration adopted and improved, twopence being charged for sending a letter eighty miles from London, and threepence for any part of England beyond that distance. The Postmaster-General had a monopoly of post horses, and the mails travelled one


hundred and twenty miles a day. A penny post, started in London by private enterprise, was taken over by the Government. Mail packets plied with tolerable regularity to the chief ports of the Continent.

8. Dress underwent a complete revolution during the century. The dignified and appropriate costume for gentlemen, which is remembered from Vandyck's [22]  portraits, became more fantastic and extravagant towards the middle of the century, and afforded reasonable grounds for Puritan attack. A great simplification of costume resulted for a time from Puritan influence, though it is an exaggeration to suppose that the politics of a gentleman during the Civil War could at once be discerned by the cut and colour of his clothes. The ribands, frills, tags and points of the "debauched Cavalier" were avoided by all grave persons, whatever their views, and the Puritan wide-brimmed steeple-crowned hat, long doublet, and heavy boots, were an exaggeration of the dress of a citizen rather than a special device of the precisians. Even the Anabaptist Harrison, who thought that " worldly bravery did not become saints," did not scruple to wear at a public audience "a scarlet coat and cloak, both laden with gold and silver lace, and the coat so covered with foil that one scarcely could discern the ground." The household of Cromwell, which gradually assumed the appearance of a court, was that of a plain but perfectly well-bred gentleman. His entertainments and equipages were sumptuous, and, though he ordinarily wore a simple black coat and cloak, he put on a " musk-colour suit, richly embroidered with gold," when he went to dine with the Lord Mayor. His sons' dress gave great offence to the stricter sort. Swords almost ceased to be carried for a time, but they came back again before the Restoration.

Under . the doublet and long cloak ceased to be worn, and in their place men dressed in the garments which ultimately became the modern coat and waistcoat, and in tight knee-breeches. Low shoes superseded boots, and the lace band was replaced by a lace cravat. Early in the reign wigs came in, and before long the example of Louis XIV. made large dark-coloured wigs the fashion. After the introduction of the periwig, faces began to be clean shaven, though in an earlier generation even bishops like Laud had worn moustaches and pointed beard. Men often carried muffs, fastened round their necks by a ribbon.

Ladies' dress underwent corresponding changes. Despite


Catharine of Braganza's love of short gowns, trains came into general wear, while hoods or cocked hats and feathers were not unusual. The beauties of .'s court wore their hair clustering in curls, and low dresses. Wigs became fashionable even for ladies, who also wore "puffs" or false curls, extended on wires that made their heads look very wide. Patches also came into common use.

9. In fashionable circles education became more and more the learning of good and graceful manners. The [23]  accomplished gallants and the learned ladies of the Elizabethan age both became almost extinct. Gentlemen of fashion were content with a superficial smattering of elegant French culture, and the average lady of quality could neither spell nor express herself correctly. "Let not your girl learne Latin nor shorthand," wrote a Buckinghamshire squire and member of the Long Parliament, " the difficulty of the first may keep her from that vice, for so I must esteem it in a woman, but the easiness of the other may be a prejudice to her, for the pride of taking sermon notes hath made multitudes of women most unfortunate ." During the Commonwealth it became usual to bring up young gentlemen at home, to avoid the Puritanised schools and universities ; but the results were not encouraging. After the Restoration boys were sent to Eton, because the provost "was not only a fine gentleman himself, but very skilled in the art of making others so." A more solid training was given at School during the long headmastership of Dr. Busby. Travel was encouraged to give young men knowledge of the world, while girls learned French, "now almost as fashionable among women of quality as men," at suburban boarding-schools. The universities saw strange vicissitudes during the [24]  century. Whitgift had broken down the extreme Puritanism of Cambridge, and Laud, as chancellor, did the same for Oxford, where he issued a new code of university statutes that perhaps improved discipline, but did harm in the long run, by handing over the government of the university to a close oligarchy of heads of houses. Under the Commonwealth the universities were reformed on Puritan lines, but the ejection of many men of learning brought about evil results, despite the high character of the Puritan scholars who replaced them. Under . Oxford was famous for holding extreme ideas about the Divine right of kings, and both universities strongly supported the king and the Church. Oxford and Cambridge


were now very flourishing. Besides excelling in the traditional studies, they became centres of the strict investigation of nature, which was a marked feature of the time.

10. The revolt of the sixteenth century against the Middle Ages had led to an utter contempt for its theories of natural science, though alchemy was still a [25]  favourite art and astrology had many votaries. The Novum Organum () of Francis Bacon, though of little influence on scientific workers, expressed with emphasis and brilliancy the high expectations which gifted minds had formed of the fruitful results to be obtained from the direct interrogation of nature by experimental methods. Two famous scientific discoveries in the earlier part of the century were due to subjects of the Stewart Kings. The Scots laird Napier of Merchiston discovered and elaborated his system of logarithms, and William Harvey, .'s physician, demonstrated the circulation of the blood. About the middle of the century the diffused interest in experimental science led to the periodic meeting together of a few eminent Oxford men engaged in its pursuit. The society, nicknamed at first the Invisible College, sometimes assembled at Oxford and sometimes at London, until after the Restoration, when it settled down finally in London, and included ., who was much interested in natural science, among its members. In incorporated the body under the name of the Royal Society. Among its founders was Robert Boyle, and an [26]  early member was Isaac Newton (), Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, whose famous mathematical and physical discoveries raised him to an unique position among English men of science. It was, however, not only by laying the foundations of modern natural science that the age of the Restoration is memorable. Experimental investigation became popular and fashionable, and produced a questioning habit of mind; equally alien to the sublime self-confidence of the age of and to the extreme Puritan tendency of regarding nature with irdifference as an obstacle to spiritual perfection.

11. The steady progress of science stands in strong contrast to the necessary fluctuations in art. Architecture, as in the Tudor period, continued to be in [27]  a flourishing condition. The great country houses of .'s reign are not readily distinguishable from those of 's: but two new impulses came in


early in the century, one of them due to religious reaction, and the other to the influence of the classical Italian school. Gothic architecture, which had still lingered in remote corners, was revived, notably at Oxford, as a result of the Laudian movement, though the results of this revival were not very important, and were perhaps curtailed by the Civil War and Puritan ascendency cutting short for a time all schemes of church building. More immediately memorable was the other new tendency that sprang from the influence of the classical Italian Palladio (d. ). Inspired by this, the clever Welsh architect Inigo Jones (), [28]  surveyor-general to ., strove to reproduce in England the sumptuous but cold correctness of the Palladian palaces and churches in Vicenza and Venice, erected in accordance with the strict rules of the ancient architect Vitruvius. About Jones drew up a scheme for a magnificent new palace at Whitehall, but the financial embarrassments of . and . prevented more than a fragment of it from being carried out, though a specimen still remains in the stately Banqueting House, before which . was executed. Jones's chief church was St. Paul's Covent Garden, a building erected for the wants of the new fashionable quarter, and the first church of any importance built in England after the Reformation. He also constructed a classical portico to the Gothic cathedral of St. Paul's, which perished with the church itself in the Great Fire of London.

When Inigo Jones died, (), "that miracle of a youth," had won a great reputation at [29]  Oxford for his varied gifts. After the Restoration he was made .'s surveyor-general, and devoted his fine talents to architecture. His first important building was the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford. The Great Fire gave him a unique opportunity. Though his brilliant scheme for recasting the whole City was rejected, New St. Paul's and a crowd of noble parish churches has immortalised his name. His eye for graceful proportion made the interior of many of his small City churches beautiful works of art, conspicuous among them being St. Stephen's, Walbrook. The pressure of surrounding buildings made it necessary to leave many exterior walls bare, but the spires of St. Mary le Bow and St. Bride's Fleet Street show what could do in another direction. His best work is all in the style of the Renascence. His failure on the few occasions when he attempted the


despised Gothic style shows how dead was the art of the Middle Ages. Domestic architecture found its best models in the brick-built houses of Holland. At the end of the century the fashion in all domestic arts was largely Dutch.

12. There was more taste for painting and sculpture in England under the Stewarts than under the Tudors. After , Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, formed the first large collection of works of [30]  art that ever existed in this country, a collection which included the famous Arundel marbles. . was also a patron of art, and, despite his scanty means, made a fine collection of pictures. Unluckily, no Englishman made any great name for himself as a painter or sculptor. A long series of distinguished foreign artists took up their residence in England, and painted there many of their best works. The vigorous and magnificent Flemish colourist, Peter Paul Rubens, was invited to England by ., who dubbed him knight. Rubens's stay here was short, but Charles's patronage attracted to England Rubens's ablest pupil, Antonio Van Dyck, who also was knighted by the king, and appointed "king's painter." He lived in England till his death in , immortalising with his brush his royal patron, and painting with consummate delicacy and strength the fair ladies and stately gentlemen of the time. Puritan intolerance wrought havoc with all forms of art. .'s pictures were sold and dispersed, though the sound taste of Cromwell saved some of the most precious of the king's collection for the country. Through his care Mantegna's Triumphs of Ceasar still decorated the long gallery at Hampton Court, and Raphael's Cartoons were preserved to the nation, while to the scandal of the precisians, the Protector's bed-chamber was hung with tapestry representing the history of Mars and Venus. Peter Lely, a shrewd, workman-like Dutchman, came to England during the Civil War, and for forty years did an excellent business in painting all manner of men and women, from the Lord Protector to the Duchess of Portsmouth and Nell Gwyn. A large number of foreign artists, mainly Dutch and Flemish, flourished at .'s court. Very important was the work of the incomparable Dutch wood-carver, Grinling Gibbons, whose tasteful and delicate work appropriately adorned the interior of many of's churches.

No art received so heavy a blow from Puritan ascendency


as that of music, by reason of the hostility of the Puritans to the dignified worship of the cathedrals, whose choirs [31]  had always been the best schools of English vocal art. Here, again, Cromwell, who loved music, exercised an influence for good. Under the Restoration, the cathedral schools revived, and produced the greatest English composer in Henry Purcell. Besides his church music, Purcell was the first Englishman to write a noteworthy opera, a form of art which was introduced into England under the Commonwealth and ., and did something by its combination of music and poetry to compensate for the decay of the masque.

13. The revolution in taste and feeling which the Stewart period witnessed is strikingly illustrated in its literature. [32] Under ., who was a much more active friend of the drama than ever had been, we are still in the Elizabethan age. The first eight years of the king's reign witnessed the production of the most sublime of's dramas, including the great tragedies Othello, Macbeth, Lear, Cymbeline, the most pregnant of his comedies, the Tempest, A Winter's Tale, and the most profound of his Roman plays, Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus. About sold his shares in his theatres and retired for good to Stratford, where he died in . Seven years after his death, the First Folio, the earliest collected edition of his works, was published by his friends and brother-actors, who were anxious to "keep the memory of so worthy a friend and fellow alive as was our" The great poet's place was now in some measure taken by his friend Ben Jonson (), a rough, strong, and learned playwright, and an admirable critic, whose first comedy, Every Man in his Humour, had been acted in . As he grew old, Jonson became the oracle of the chief literary society of the time, maintaining cordial friendships with his fellowdramatists, especially with the scholarly Chapman and the witty Fletcher, and gathering round him men of learning like the lawyer, antiquary and politician, John Selden, and young men like Edward Hyde, who handed on the tradition of his conversational gifts to the age of the Restoration. After him the chief dramatists of James's reign were's admirer Francis Beaumont (d. ), and John Fletcher (d. ), who wrote many plays in partnership, and John Webster, a man of mighty tragic genius. Under . flourished Philip Massinger (d. ), whose consummate


stagecraft and nervous diction do something to redeem his conventionality and coarseness, and John Ford (d. after ), a great master of deep tragedy, who shrank from no horrors nor repulsiveness. The character of the drama changed slowly but surely, becoming more fantastic and extravagant, and, as the Puritan cry against the stage rose louder, more reckless and profligate. Yet good plays were still written up to the closing of the theatres in , and the last of the "Elizabethan" dramatists, James Shirley (d. ), lived on until the Restoration saw the play-houses again opened, while Sir William [33]  Davenant, who produced operas during the Protectorate, formed a bridge between the Elizabethans and the dramatists of the Restoration. The Restoration stage by no means filled the same part in the life of the time as that of the Elizabethan age, though the plays of the great period were still acted and admired, and the foremost man who now wrote for the stage, John Dryden (), based the style of [34]  his later plays on the Elizabethans. However, in his earlier pieces Dryden had imitated the classical French school and had adopted the heroic riming couplet as his dramatic metre. The drama now became limited to bombastic and empty "heroic" tragedy, and to bright and sprightly but gross comedies of manners, though it is only fair to the much abused "age of the Restoration" to say that, save William Wycherley, who began to write in , most of the so-called " Restoration dramatists " did not pen a line until nearly a generation had passed over since . went back to his throne. The famous attack of Jeremy Collier on the profligacy of the stage was written under . in . But the artificial comedians, with all their wit and dexterity, were but poor substitutes for the Elizabethans. 14. The poets of the early Stewarts worthily continued Elizabethan tradition. A whole school of followers of Spenser flourished, while the far-fetched and over-wrought "metaphysical" school, whose [35] . best work was written by Donne, represented the opposite pole of art. A remarkable aftergrowth of the Elizabethan spirit was to be seen in the delicate school of lyric poets that flourished in the middle of the century, of whom the most charming representative was Robert Herrick. The quaint piety of The Temple of " holy George Herbert" and the more exalted poetry of Henry Vaughan " the Silurist"


represent a school of religious poets who owed their being to the Laudian revival.

A deeper and more individual note in poetry was struck in the early verse of John Milton (), a London [36]  scrivener's son, who studied deeply at Cambridge, and becoming " church ousted by the prelates," settled down at his father's house at Horton in Buckinghamshire, and produced between , his sweet, musical, and strong early poetry, which in itself would entitle him to a foremost place in our literature. He was called away from poetry by his travels, and, on his return, plunged with acrimony and enthusiasm into the theological and political disputes of the Civil War period, and was rewarded for his services to the Independent cause by his appointment as Latin Secretary to the Council of State, set up after .'s death, an office which he continued to hold until the Restoration sent him into a retirement that was made more irksome by blindness and domestic troubles. For more than twenty years he had written no poetry save a few masterly sonnets. He now attained his loftiest heights in the epics of Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, and the classic tragedy of Samson Agonistes, which wedded the severest and sternest spirit of Puritanism to the most exquisite and scholarly music. Milton's high-souled but somewhat impracticable character kept him aloof from the temper of the age, even in the days of his pamphlet-writing and political work. He was doubly lonely, when amidst the riot of the Restoration, he indited the highest literary expressions of the Puritan ideal, in an age that was seeking to crush out Puritanism altogether. Yet sound critics like Dryden at once recognised, in almost exaggerated terms, the unique greatness of the Puritan epic, and even to careless foreigners, who loathed his politics and religion, Milton's solitary figure represented all that was most characteristic of English literature

. Milton's profound devotion to classical form, his refined verse, scholarly, severe methods, and Italian culture were [37] peculiar to himself. The new generation of poets, whose work was largely influenced by the dominant classic school of, began with Edmund Waller, who made popular the heroic couplet as the best English equivalent to the French Alexandrine. This school attained its noblest and most sonorous utterances in the didactic, critical, political, and lyric poems of Dryden, who


stands as literary dictator and oracle to the end of the century in much the same position as Ben Jonson had attained in the previous age. The fierce bursts of irregular and uncontrolled passion of [38]  the Elizabethan were trammelled by few of the conventions which regulated without marring the stately measures of Dryden, though they exercised a less excellent effect on smaller men. The spontaneous poetry of emotion is now succeeded by the studied poetry of the intelligence, and it is characteristic that Dryden's most famous verses, Absalom and Achitophel and The Hind and the Panther, should deal with such subjects as the Popish Plot, and the religious controversies excited by .'s attempt to win back England to Rome. It is equally characteristic that one of the most vigorous, popular, and [39]  individual of the verse writers of the Restoration, Samuel Butler (), turned his rare gifts for biting satire to laughing away the memory of the Puritan warriors by a mock-heroic account of a ridiculous country knight called Hudibras. While all the wits and courtiers read Hudibras and neglected its author, John Bunyan, the self-educated village preacher of the Baptists, set forth in his vivid and life-like allegory of the Pilgrim's Progress () the Puritan ideal with a dramatic force and vividness of characterisation that make it a real prose [40]  poem with no small touch of Elizabethan spontaneity and freshness. Nor is his Holy War much inferior to his more popular allegory. Bunyan's were the first great books in modern English literature written by a man of the people for the people.

15. Prose advanced while poetry declined. Early in the century a noble standard of good prose style was set almost unconsciously by the committee of scholars which drew up the Authorised Version of the [41] Bible. Yet for the first half of the period the majestic but involved periods of the great Elizabethans furnished the model of good composition, while the mass of published books and pamphlets were dull, formless and unattractive. The older prose, already admirably set forth by Hooker, Bacon, and Raleigh, now found varied examples in Milton's grand plea for a free, unlicensed press in his Areopagitica, in Clarendon's stately delineation of his great contemporaries in his History of the Rebellion, in the poetic and luscious eloquence of Jeremy Taylor, in the rich meditative soliloquies of Sir Thomas Browne, in


the quaint humour of Thomas Fuller and the simple idyllic pictures of Isaac Walton. As men read more widely and more hurriedly, the style of books began gradually to assimilate itself to the spoken speech. Most of the pamphleteers whom the civil wars produced not unnaturally fell into a homely and colloquial style, which was more persuasive and convincing to the vulgar than the sublimities that illumine Milton's prose works. A crowd of Newspapers grew up as the result of the eager demand for intelligence in the exciting period of civil strife, and helped forward the creation of a natural prose. Dryden's famous Prefaces and critical works first gave the new prose the stamp of a high style and the sanction of a great name. His influence is as decisive on the development of our prose as on the new departure of our poetry. Before the end of the century, a nervous, natural, simple, and idiomatic standard prose had become universally established, and greatly raised the level of all the journey work of literature, and of the books whose importance rests in facts or arguments rather than in their style. For the first time in our history it became possible for a few popular writers to earn considerable sums by their pens, so that a professional literary class was beginning to grow up.

Prose literature now became increasingly plentiful and touched a greater variety of subjects. The theological discussions of the age are reflected in the controversial writings of the Caroline and later Puritan divines. The political interests of the period found expression even in the antiquarian researches of a Prynne or a Dugdale, and still more strongly in the contemporary memoirs, among which (besides Clarendon's Rebellion) we may mention Mrs. Hutchinson's Memoirs, Ludlow's Memoirs, and May's History of the Long Parliament; while the Diaries of the stately and scholarly John Evelyn, and of the lively and worldly admiralty clerk, Samuel Pepys, and Roger North's Lives of the Norths, throw a flood of light on contemporary manners. There were many translations from the lighter literature of; and most foreign books of importance, on such subjects as theology, politics and history, were promptly put into English. Every school of politicians now had its literary exponents. Thomas Hobbes upheld the absolute power of the State in his famous Leviathan (), which traced the origin of society to a social contract, in which individuals agree with each other to resign their liberty to the sovereign, who is thus able to secure


order and prosperity. Hobbes's rationalistic theory of the State was displeasing both to his Puritan opponents, such as Richard Baxter, the prominent Nonconformist divine, and to the friends of Divine Right, whose views were a generation later upheld in Filmer's Patriarcha, which traced all lawful rule back to the patriarchal monarchy set forth in the book of Genesis. James Harington, in his Oceana, upheld an aristocratic republic as the ideal form of government, while John Locke, the friend and dependent of Shaftesbury, tried to establish on a philosophic basis the Whig theory of government that triumphed in the Revolution of .


[1] Progress in the Seventeenth Century.

[2] Effects of the growth of commerce and colonies at home

[3] Banking and finance

[4] The Mercantile system and the Balance of Trade.

[5] Manufactures

[6] Mining

[7] Agriculture

[8] Vermuyden and the drainage of the Fens.

[9] The poor and pauperism.

[10] The Act of Settlement, 1662.

[11] Populatlon.

[12] Growth of Towns

[13] London

[14] Amusements.

[15] The Playhouses

[16] Games and sports.

[17] The Parks and Gardens.

[18] The Coffeehouses.

[19] coffee, Tea, and Chocolate.

[20] Communications.

[21] The Postal System.

[22] Dress.

[23] Education

[24] The Univerities

[25] Natural Science

[26] Foundation of the Royal society, 1662.

[27] Architecture

[28] Inigo Jones

[29] Sir Christopher Wren.

[30] Painting and Sculpture.

[31] Music.

[32] The later Elizabethan Dramatists

[33] The transition to the later drama.

[34] Dryden and the Restoration Dramatists.

[35] Poetry

[36] John Milton.

[37] The poetry of the Restoration.

[38] Dryden and his School.

[39] Butler's Hudibras.

[40] Bunyan.

[41] The old and the New Prose.