History of England, Part III, William and Mary to 1887

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


CHAPTER III: Great Britain during the Eighteenth Century, The Industrial Revolution


1. [1] Up to about England remained mainly a nation of farmers and merchants. Save that of wool, its manufactures were of no great importance. Rough goods for home use were largely made, but most fine and finished articles were imported from France or Holland. During the first half of the 18th century England won the trading supremacy over the world. The , which, before the Revolution, had been in the hands of the Dutch, had now passed to the English. Every war was waged for commercial advantages. Every peace brought fresh gains to trade. The with Portugal () had opened the Portuguese markets to our


woollen goods on condition of our taking Portuguese wines at a third less duty than French. This was looked upon as that

"glorious treaty by which England gains a million a year,"

because the Portuguese had nothing to pay for our English goods except gold and silver, and in those days the trade which brought most gold and silver into a country was looked upon as by far the most beneficial. The (which gave England the sole right of supplying the Spanish colonies with negro slaves), and the commercial clauses of the gave a fresh start to English trade. Bristol merchants grew rich on the slave-trade, which was so profitable that no one thought of its wickedness. The growth of the East India Company's territories, the conquest of the French colonies and the spread of our own, all gave fresh openings to the British merchant. Traders got richer, had more influence in Parliament, and founded county families. London grew fast, , and (after the Union) Glasgow began to rival Bristol in the American trade. But it was not by peace and free trade, but by successful war and monopoly that England won its great foreign trade. Yet having once got it, she managed to beat all possible competitors; and, even after losing the American colonies, the volume of her trade with them increased, in accordance with 's principle, but to everybody else's surprise.

Manufacturing industry also grew steadily during the first half of the eighteenth century; but it was on the old lines and with the old tools. There was little elaborate machinery, little concentration of labour into factories, limited division of labour, and miserable means of communication. Yet between and the population of , where the cotton trade was beginning to be important, grew from about 160,000 to nearly 300,000, and that of the West Riding of Yorkshire from 230,000 to 360,000, while the whole population of England was only five millions in and six millions in .

2. [2] About a series of discoveries multiplied the power of production. Four great inventions made the cotton trade, hitherto one of the smallest of our industries, a rival with the woollen trade itself. Up to the machines used were as simple as those of India, and no whole cotton goods were made; all had a linen warp as well as a cotton weft. In the shrewd and sanguine , a Bolton barber, invented the system of spinning by rollers, which led to his water-frame. In


James , a Blackburn weaver, patented his , which enabled one person to spin several threads at once. In the proud and sensitive Samuel Crompton introduced his , which combined the principles of ' and 's inventions. Meanwhile Strutt's improvements on his gave a further start to the hosiery trade of Nottingham. The cautious and far-seeing James , mathematical instrument maker at Glasgow, now effected such improvements in the (), which had hitherto only been used in Newcomen's more clumsy form, that it became the chief agent in revolutionising the old state of trade and labour, and ultimately of society. In steam was first used in the cotton trade, and in the same year Dr. Edmund Cartwright, a portly and dignified Yorkshire clergyman, patented his , though it did not come into general use till the present century. The south-eastern towns of ( and Bolton), and the district round Nottingham and Derby, were now the chief seats of the cotton trade, which in its golden age, between and , trebled its volume. Robert of Blackburn, grandfather of the famous statesman, took up very vigorously the work of machine calico-printing. Meanwhile the old staple woollen trade continued to flourish. Norwich, where crapes, baize, serges, and other light woollen goods were largely made, went up from 30,000 to 60,000 inhabitants between and . The increase was great in the West of England clothing district, where most of the fine cloth was still made, but it was in the moorland valleys of the West Riding, where coal was cheap and water-power plentiful, that it received its greatest development. 's inventions were modified to suit sheep's wool. Leeds, the centre of the coarse cloth trade, and Halifax, the centre of the worsted manufactures, grew enormously.

The iron trade was languishing in its old Surrey and Sussex homes, as even the dense oak woods of the Weald would not supply enough fuel to feed the furnaces. The last great job of the Sussex ironmasters was the railings which still surround St. Paul's in London. But the application of 's steam-engine enabled the last difficulties to be overcome in smelting iron with pit-coal. Dr. John Roebuck, whose discoveries had largely made this possible, started in the Carron Works in . In Anthony Bacon started the South Wales iron trade, with the works at Cyfarthfa, near Merthyr. In the rich and hopeful


Matthew Boulton opened the Soho Works near Birmingham, and in took the mechanical genius of into partnership with himself, and persevered in extending the use of his inventions, when even nearly gave up in despair. In Birmingham had at least 50,000 inhabitants, while Sheffield, the centre of the Hallamshire cutlery trade, had 30,000. The rude potteries of North Staffordshire was now improved by the long labours of , who, in , first produced his cream-coloured (so-called from the patronage of Queen Charlotte), which was followed by his beautiful ornamental works, and painted vases which ,

"the sculptor of eternity,"

designed for him. In , 15,000 men were employed in the potteries, and five-sixths of the wares made were exported. In the manufacture of plate glass began in . The linen trade grew in Paisley and in the north of Ireland. The French silk weavers still flourished at Spitalfields, and other centres of the silk trade were Coventry, Macclesfield, and Paisley.

3. [3] Better communication was as much needed as machines to make English trade grow. As long as goods could only be carried about by pack-horses along hill paths, or in heavy wagons along infamous roads, only places near could be served. But turnpike roads (on which tolls could be levied to provide means for their repair) were now becoming general, and between and , 452 Acts of Parliament were passed for repairing highways; though the roads were still so bad that it took from Monday night to Wednesday afternoon for a letter to go from Bath to London. The great road between Preston and Wigan was full of

"ruts four feet deep, and floating with mud from a wet summer. The only mending it receives is the tumbling in some loose stones, which serve no purpose but jolting a carriage."

Within eighteen miles a traveller passed three broken-down carts. But some roads were being brought into good condition, and many important bridges were now built. By the end of the century roads were so smooth and hard that the fast coaches carrying passengers and mails could go at a very rapid rate. In the first mailcoach, on Palmer's plan, left London for Bristol. In , 380 towns that had previously had three posts a week, and 40 which had no posts at all, had daily posts, and the mails were often conveyed in a quarter of the time formerly taken.

In the coal-fields, especially in the Tyne district, there were or to carry the coals to the ships.

" The

tracks of the wheels are marked by pieces of timber let into the road for the wheels of the wagons to run on, by means of which one horse is able to draw with ease fifty or sixty bushels of coal."

In cast-iron plates were used to cover the wooden rails at the Coalbrook Dale Ironworks, and after cast-iron rails generally superseded wooden ones.

The greatest improvement in communications was by the construction of canals. In an Act was passed to make the Irwell navigable up to , while the opening out of the Aire and Calder navigation did wonders for the trade of the West Riding. The famous Francis, Duke of Bridgwater, called in the assistance of the unlettered but observant engineer, Brindley, to make a canal to convey coal from his collieries at Worsley to (), and afterwards extended it to the Mersey at Runcorn, so as to form a new and certain means of communication between and .

" The duke could work on his canal when floods or dry seasons interrupted the navigation of the Mersey. This gave a certainty and punctuality which insured a preference to the canal. The emoluments arising to the duke were not to be mistaken, and, perseverance having vanquished prejudice, the fire of speculation was lighted, and canals became the subject of general conversation."

In Brindley began the Trent and Mersey or Grand Trunk Canal, which included a tunnel 2880 yards long. In a ship canal between the Forth and the Clyde was projected, though it was not until that

"the union of the two firths was celebrated by the launching of a hogshead of the water of the Forth into the Clyde."

A larger ship canal connected Gloucester with the deep waters of the Severn at Berkeley. In Telford began the Ellesmere Canal, which linked Severn, Dee, and Mersey, and crossed the beautiful Dee valley on Pont y Cysyllt by an arched viaduct at a height of seventy-five feet above the river. Gradually the Thames, the Trent, the Severn, and the Mersey were all connected together. In Telford began the Caledonian ship canal between Inverness and Fort-William. Between and , 165 canal Acts were passed, and nearly 3000 miles of canals constructed. Canals, furnishing the only means of conveying very heavy goods and pieces of machinery, were to this period what railways were to a later age.

4. The widening of the markets by improved means of communication, the great series of inventions, and the great


increase in the volume of trade, brought about a new and keener spirit of competition, in which only the strongest, wisest, and most cunning survived, while the weaker, lazier, and more sluggish went to the wall. [4] Population increased enormously. Between and (when the first census was taken) the population ran up from 6,000,000 to 9,000,000, despite the fact that the rural population was distinctly on the decline.

The old domestic system of manufactures gave way to the . Manufactures were now centred in growing towns. Instead of the small master working in his own home with his one or two apprentices and journeymen, the rich capitalist-employer with his army of factory hands grew up. Many of these masters were rough, illiterate, and hard, though shrewd and far-seeing in business. Their workmen gathered from all the country round into new, badly-built, unhealthy brick cottages, and were forced to work for long hours in dark, dirty, and unwholesome workshops. The State did nothing to protect them; the masters only thought of their profits; the national conscience was dead, and unjust laws prevented them combining together in trades unions to help themselves. Women and children were made to work as long and as hard as the men. A regular system grew up of transporting pauper and destitute children to weary factory work. There was no care for their health. There were no schools, and plenty of public-houses. There were few churches and chapels, though the Methodists often did something to prevent the people from falling back into heathendom. The workmen were ignorant, brutal, poor, and oppressed. In hard times distress was widespread, and the workmen naturally listened to agitators and fanatics, or took to violent means of avenging their wrongs. For they had no constitutional means of redress. Even the masters had no votes, as the new towns sent no members to Parliament. The transfer of the balance of population and wealth from the south and east to the north and midlands made parliamentary reform necessary. It also produced a great deal of rivalry between the rich manufacturers and the old landed gentry. As after the latter class became more and more Tory, so did the former become more and more Radical. And after the Industrial Revolution had been completed, the manufacturers and traders were rapidly getting the better of the old aristocracy.

5. Side by side with the industrial revolution went an . In a very large proportion


even of arable land was still common-field, on which after harvest all householders had the right to turn their cattle, and which were cultivated on the wasteful old three years' system of wheat, fallow, and barley. [5] 

"Never were more miserable crops seen than the spring ones in the common fields, absolutely beyond contempt."

In most parts of the country the farms were small, and cultivated with little skill or capital.

"Custom alone,"

says the famous farmer and traveller, ,

"has been the guide of the farmer. Deduct from agriculture all the practices that have made it flourishing, and you have the management of small farms."

Yet the small farmer, whose home was often the seat of a domestic manufacture, was self-supporting and independent of markets. England was a corn-exporting country up to the middle of the century, and the export of grain was encouraged by a bounty of 5s. a quarter when the price of wheat was under 48s. But the increase of population increased the demand, and a series of great improvements set in in agriculture which largely augmented the supply of food. As early as the husbandry of Norfolk

"had rendered the name of the county famous in the farming world."

" Enclosures, marling, an excellent fourfold rotation of crops, the culture of turnips, clover, and rye grass, the granting of long leases, and the division of the country into great farms,"

were, according to , the chief causes of the improvement of Norfolk agriculture. After quarrelled with and gave up politics, he settled down to farm on his estate at Raynham, and his example made the cultivation of the turnip general, and so made it possible to get rid of the wasteful old system of fallows.

After improvement grew more rapid. Between and there were, says ,

"more experiments, more discoveries, and more general good sense displayed in agriculture than in the hundred preceding years."

Between and of Dishley produced the new Leicestershire breed of sheep,

"which within half a century spread themselves all over Europe and America,"


"gave two pounds of mutton where there was only one before."

Bakewell also bred the new

" Leicestershire longhorn,"


" Dishley breed"

of cattle, a

"small, clean-boned, round, short-carcassed, kindly-looking cattle."

The extension of Bakewell's principles to the cattle of the Tees valley by the brothers Coiling produced the still more famous

"shorthorn "




6. [6]  With began the long series of that greatly limited common of pasture and almost got rid of the arable common fields; 3000 enclosure Acts were passed during 's reign, and by the year seven million acres of land were enclosed under them and turned into private property. The poor lost their common rights, for the newly enclosed land nearly all went to the big landlords. Yet the change was necessary, for, as said, Yet, despite a greater area of tillage and greater produce from the old farms, England could no longer send abroad any corn, and in a was passed which let in foreign corn at a nominal duty when the price of wheat was 48s. a quarter. In was another corn law which made 54s. the limit of the nominal duty. Yet the price of wheat fluctuated violently. In one year it altered from 56s. to 122s. The average price between was under 50s., while the average between was 87s. Large farms were now growing up in the place of small farms, so that in one place

" a single farmer held as one farm the lands that once formed fourteen farms, bringing up respectably fourteen families."

The capitalist farmer now came in like the capitalist employer. His gangs of poor and ignorant labourers were the counterpart of the swarm of factory hands. The business of farming was worked more scientifically, with better tools and greater success; but after the middle of the century the condition of the agricultural labourer got no better, and now the great mass of the rural population were mere labourers. For the yeomanry, which in the seventeenth century had been so powerful, was now rapidly disappearing except in out-of-the-way corners, such as the Westmoreland valleys, the isle of Axholme, and some parts of Wales. The growth of the factory system prevented their eking out the produce of their little farms by domestic manufactures, and the enclosure of commons was altogether to their loss. But the great cause of their decline was the political importance attached to landowning after , which caused great men anxious to rule the country to buy them up at high prices. It paid small capitalists better to invest their property in other ways. So the power of the territorial aristocracy grew, and the land passed into fewer and fewer hands, for the small squire, rustic in garb and speech, who never travelled further than his county town, was swallowed up almost as


completely as the yeomanry. Meanwhile pauperism became more and more a pressing evil, especially after , when abolished the (which compelled all who received relief from the rates to go into the half-imprisonment of a poorhouse), and the system of poor law doles in aid of wages was encouraged by the high prices at the end of the century. In one-seventh of the people was in receipt of poor law relief. In agriculture as in manufactures there was progress. More wealth was accumulated, but it fell into the hands of fewer people. Above all, the widened market caused great fluctuations in demand, and rapid successions of prosperity and distress; but the workmen shared but partially in the prosperity, and were the first to bear the brunt of hard times. What is now called the struggle for existence had become severer. The intense competition of our modern times had set in.

In the midst of the Industrial Revolution, , a Glasgow professor, published in his , which founded the modern school of political economy, and taught that free trade was the best way to make a nation rich. But in Malthus, a clergyman, published his , which showed how all the increased produce did little good when population grew faster than the means to support it. The end of the century was a time of distress for town and country alike.

7. [7] The religious history of the first half of the century centres, as we have seen, round the growth of Latitudinarianism and Deism and the strong reaction of the Methodist movement. During the latter half of the century these forces still continued to work. But the most striking feature in religious life was now the . This was nearly akin to Methodism, and yet is not simply a further growth from it. The earliest Evangelicals, like Hervey, were also Methodists-but the Evangelical Movement was more properly a revival of seventeenth century Puritanism, which affected both the Church and the older Nonconformist bodies. It was Calvinistic in its theology, and therefore strongly out of sympathy with the teaching of himself. It did not lead to the formation of any new church or sect, but it influenced all the existing ones, and produced as its results a stronger sense of personal religion and a zeal for good works and strong feeling for others, however low a place such acts held in the evangelical scheme. The leaders of


the movement were not learned, but good and self-denying, though in some ways rather narrow in their teaching.

Among the early Evangelicals were Toplady, author of the hymn Grimshaw, Vicar of Haworth, and Berridge, Vicar of Everton. The most famous names connected with later Evangelicalism are William (-), who withdrew from Lady Huntingdon's Connexion in when she practically gave up the Established Church. He wrote the , and was the strongest Calvinist of all the Evangelical leaders. Henry Venn (), Vicar of Huddersfield, who also left Lady Huntingdon in , wrote the chief devotional book of his school, the . Other leaders were John Newton (-), the converted slave-trader; Thomas Scott (), whose Biblical was the standard of his party; Joseph Milner (), the author of a written from the same standpoint. But the two greatest Evangelicals were laymen, William (), the reformer of English poetry, and , the Tory member for Yorkshire and friend of .

The Evangelicals were specially fond of missionary work. The London Missionary Society (), the Church Missionary Society (), the Religious Tract Society (), and the Bible Society () arose from their teaching. The general establishment of Sunday Schools was another result of the movement. In Robert , a printer, started his first school at Gloucester, because, he said,

"on Sunday the streets were filled with a multitude of wretches who, having no employment, spent their time in noise and riot, playing at chuck, and cursing and swearing."

In the Sunday School Society was established.

In Scotland there was the same contrast as in England between the prevailing Latitudinarianism and the Puritan reaction from it. The great question in dispute was the lawfulness of private patronage, which had been brought back to the Scotch Church by an Act of Parliament in . In those who held most strongly the divine right of the people to choose their own ministers followed Ebenezer Erskine, who established a new religious body called the , which later broke up into two. In another schism on the same point caused the establishment of the . There were no more secessions, but the Scotch Church continued divided into the who upheld and the who opposed


the law of patronage. The Moderates, led by Dr. Robertson, the historian, the Principal of the University of Edinburgh, had for many years a majority in the General Assembly. They were the Scotch Latitudinarians, and preached

"cauld harangues

On practice and on morals."

"Like Socrates or Antonine,

Or some old pagan heathen,

The moral man they do define,

But ne'er a word o' faith in."

Towards the end of the century the Evangelicals grew much stronger.

8. The eighteenth century saw religious toleration established, though not without fierce opposition. [8] The laws against disbelievers in the Trinity and against Roman Catholics gradually fell into disuse, and the whole temper of the age was against religious persecution. Even the Scotch Episcopalians who would take the oaths to the Protestant Succession were allowed to meet together for worship by the Toleration Act of . But the great mass of that body was Jacobite, and the laws against them were actively enforced until the accession of , and not repealed until . Though the Indemnity Acts really allowed Dissenters to hold office, the Test and Corporation Acts still remained the law. The attempt of to relieve the Jews from their disabilities, and the proposed relief to the Catholics in , led to the strongest opposition. The Evangelical movement was unfavourable to the Roman Catholics' claims to emancipation. Yet enlightened men like saw that they were both just and necessary.

9. The new state of things brought with it many abuses, but good and far-seeing men were trying to get rid of them.[9]  The spirit of humanity and philanthropy had begun to shine amidst the rough and brutal manners of the age. This spirit was largely fed from the Methodist and Evangelical movements, but was also a good deal due to that wide sympathy for human suffering and hot indignation against oppression and in justice which were the best side of the teaching of the French freethinkers, which kindled to enthusiasm the polished cynicism of , and rose to a white heat in the fervent sentimentalism of . In the first


passed the first for regulating the abuses of the factory system. Though the penal code was still odiously severe, the proportion of executions to convictions for the hundred and fifty crimes for which death was the penalty was growing lower. The practice by which prisoners who refused to plead were to be crushed to death, and the law which made burning the way of putting women traitors to death, were repealed. In the brutal and riotous procession of London criminals from to was abolished, and executions took place in front of the gaol, where the introduction of the made hanging much less cruel and uncertain. The loss of the American colonies put an end to the system of selling criminals to the planters, and was succeeded by the much milder punishment of transportation to the desert continent of , where in the colony of was founded, largely as a penal settlement.

10. The state of the prisons still continued disgraceful until the self-denying labours of had laid bare their abuses. [10] In acted as sheriff for , and found such horrors in the prisons under his charge that he devoted the whole of the rest of his life till his death at Kherson in to looking into and trying to improve the condition of prisons and hospitals all over Europe.


"that many prisons are scantily supplied and some almost totally destitute of the necessaries of life. No care was taken of the sick. The debtors had no food allowance, and were very often the most pitiable objects in our gaols. The criminals passed their time in sloth, profaneness, and debauchery. Many prisons had no water, and the malignity of the air was such that his clothes were so offensive after a visit to them that in a post-chaise he could not bear the windows drawn up."

" Many more prisoners were destroyed by gaol fever than by all the public executions in the kingdom."

There was no separation of different classes of criminals, and the gaolers were often cruel tyrants or grasping extortioners. Through 's exertions two Acts were passed in which got rid of the worst abuses, but much still remained to be done.

11. The same growth of a humane spirit called attention to the slave-trade, which in the early part of the century had been simply looked at as an easy way to get rich. One Act of Parliament had declared

" that the trade to and

from Africa is very advantageous to Great Britain, and necessary for the plantations and colonies."

[11]  Lord Dartmouth (whom the Evangelical poet celebrated as "one who wears a coronet and prays"),when Colonial Secretary in , refused to allow the mutinous colonies

"to check or discourage in any degree a trade so beneficial to the nation."

The famous evangelical continued in command of a slaveship long after his


Though had denounced slavery, upheld it strongly.

The Quakers, who, in , had expelled from their body all occupied in the slave-trade, were almost alone in their hostility to traffic in human flesh. In a peculiarly horrible case occurred, when the master of a slaver, finding sickness breaking out among his cargo, flung 132 negroes overboard, because, if they died, the loss would fall on the owners, while if they were thrown overboard for safety, the loss fell on the who had insured the ship. But in Lord Chief-Justice Mansfield had declared that any slave brought to England became at once free, and in the was formed, of which Granville was the president, and and were leading members. They wisely avoided attacking slavery, and confined themselves to denouncing the slave-trade. The hardworking and persistent collected evidence of the horrors of the from Africa to America, in which nearly half of the negroes stolen from Africa died. In promised an inquiry, and was passed to limit the number of negroes carried in slave-ships. Granville established the colony of in Western Africa as a refuge for freed slaves. But the outbreak of the French Revolution frightened the richer classes into opposing the movement. The abolition of slavery by the

"atheists and anarchists of France"

was declared a reason why it should be upheld by England. The support of and of the Whig leaders was not enough to make up for the hostility of the king and the mass of the Tories. The century ended with the stoppage of a most righteous movement, which in seemed just about to triumph.

12. Manners were still very rough. Among the upper classes the influence of the first two Georges was not a good one. Popular literature and the stage were often broad and vulgar. The gentry and the lower classes still amused


themselves with bull-baiting, bear-baiting, cock-fighting, and back-sword fighting. [12] But even here great improvement set in. Broughton made boxing a science, and his famous rules for the ring did a great deal to spread a rough love of fairplay among the most disorderly classes. Men like , the manly Essex farmer, spoke loudly against that cruelty to animals which had held up to shame with his pencil and burin. Horse-racing was brought into greater fashion by the Duke of , and the breed of blood horses was again studied with loving care. , when prince, was a great patron of the turf, until his jockey, Sam Chifney, was suspected of having pulled his horse


and had to give up racing in some disgrace. Gambling and hard-drinking were still very common, but less so at the end of the century than at the beginning. 's homely and decorous private life had no small influence for good; but its dulness forced his own sons into riotous disorder, and the

" first gentleman in Europe,"

as his flatterers called , set an example of everything bad. The opposition of the

"religious party"

to all amusements, good or bad, healthful or harmful, did a great deal of harm, and so did the tendency of the Evangelicals to draw a hard and fast line between the

" world "

and the few

" professors."

The tendency of the age was towards the breaking down of hard class distinctions, and the greater easiness of getting about produced a greater likeness in manners between the gentry and tradespeople, and broke down a good deal of the distinction between town and country.

"Every male and female,"

it was complained,

" wishes to think and speak, to eat and drink, and dress and live after the manner of people of quality in London."

The taste for travelling also grew. Gentlemen finished their education by making the

"grand tour"

on the Continent. The inland watering places, Bath, Clifton, Tunbridge Wells, Buxton, Epsom, continued to flourish. In Cheltenham Spa first came into notice. Towards the end of the century the fashion for sea-bathing set in, and became even more popular than

"taking the waters."

In Dr. Richard Russell wrote his book on the advantages of the practice. made Weymouth popular. His eldest son did even more for Brighton. Before the end of the century complained how

"Your prudent grandmammas, ye modern belles,

Content with Bristol, Bath, and Tunbridge Wells,

When health required it, would consent to roam,

Else, more attached to pleasures found at home;

But now alike, gay widow, virgin, wife,

Ingenious to diversify dull life,

In coaches, chaises, caravans, and hoys,

Fly to the coast for daily, nightly joys,

And all, impatient of dry land, agree,

With one consent, to rush into the sea.

13. The dress of the upper classes was still very costly and rich. Men dressed in silks and velvets, and wore as many colours as women. [13] Lord Derwentwater went to execution in a scarlet coat, faced with black velvet and trimmed with gold. Even Dr. , who, as a rule, dressed very simply, put on a scarlet waistcoat, richly laced with gold, and a gold-laced hat in honour of the first night of his play of . generally showed off his ugly face by a scarlet or green coat. A fashionable highwayman went to to be hung dressed in blue and gold. and the Whigs adopted the blue and buff of the

" Continental"

troops as the Whig party dress and colours. Every physician still wore an enormous wig, and carried a huge silver-mounted cane. Even poor country curates, like 's Parson Adams, always went about in their cassocks. Bishops dressed in

"wigs, purple coats, short cassocks, stockings, and cocked hats."

"No Minister went down to the House without being full dressed and with his sword by his side."

Lord wore the Order of the Garter so constantly that he was nearly always described in the House of Commons as

" the noble lord in the blue ribbon."

Noblemen travelled in great pomp with outriders and four horses at least.

The simpler styles of modern dress gradually set in, as a result of the influence of , who taught that the equality of men should even extend to their clothes, and believed modern civilisation was a terrible decline from the golden state of nature when all men were brothers. says a shrewd observer, Wigs were given up, and the hairdressers bitterly complained of gentlemen who wore their own hair and forced them to work on Sundays in dressing it. Hair powder, which was used after wigs went out, never survived 's tax of a guinea a year in . About swords went out of fashion. Umbrellas became common, though, like coaches at an earlier date, they were at first disliked as effeminate. A little later tall beaver hats replaced


cocked hats; and shoe strings came in instead of silver buckles. Pantaloons and Hessian boots superseded knee-breeches, silk stockings, and shoes.


complains a lover of old ways,

" now dressed like shopkeepers, horse-dealers, and tradesmen, with coloured neckcloths and boots."

But though dress got more simple, love of show found other ways to display itself. Old-fashioned people complained that the rich tradesman gave up living over his shop for a suburban villa, and aped in his style of living, his carriages, his travels, and his wife and daughters' dresses, the manners of the landed gentry. With less vain pomp, comfort and refinement grew, and, with high prices, made living much dearer. The radical Horne Tooke complained of the

"luxury and corruption that had flowed in like a torrent from our connection with



14. Early in the century architecture was the most flourishing of the arts, but later on it declined, while painting, sculpture, and music made great progress. [14]  The plain, picturesque, and convenient style of domestic architecture has been largely revived in our own day. Queen 's Act for building fifty new churches round London gave the pupils of Wren good chances of showing their skill. James Gibbs built with its noble portico and graceful spire and the majestic dome of the Radcliffe Library at Oxford. Hawksmoor strove to rival his master in the elegant interior of . Scores of great houses of vast proportions rose up all over the country, such as 's splendid palace of Blenheim, near Woodstock, and the Earl of Carlisle's magnificent mansion of Castle Howard, near York, both the work of the eccentric and irregular genius of Vanbrugh. But the English school of classical architecture died away, and the example of Lord Burlington, an elegant but commonplace amateur, brought in meagre imitations of the style of Palladio.

As the century advanced, many hideous and formless brick buildings were run up. Towards the end James Wyatt tried to revive Gothic architecture, which had up to now been looked on almost universally with contempt. But he had neither the knowledge nor the taste for this. He nearly ruined Salisbury Cathedral with his


and put a commonplace though grandiose palace on the site of the historical castle of Windsor. But the height of bad taste was found in the grotesque and fantastic Pavilion on which the Prince Regent wasted huge sums at Brighton.

15. In painting, the rough but original genius of William (-), whose strong and biting satires give us so vivid a picture of English manners, alone broke the monotony of the weak imitations of Kneller, until the great Sir (-) founded a national school of painting. [15] In the was established with Sir Joshua for its first President. At its yearly exhibitions were seen the vast historic canvases of Benjamin West the Quaker, the poetic landscapes of , the magnificent portraits of the President, and the charming work of Thomas Gainsborough, equally great in landscape and in portraiture. In sculpture the Frenchman Roubiliac (d. ) had the greatest fame of his day, but in the next age Bacon, Banks, Nollekens, and, above all, John () established a native British school. The Wedgwoods' pottery claims a place in the history of art as well as in that of industry. The broad and vigorous political caricatures of Gillray and Rowlandson carried on the spirit and the humour of . , engraver, publisher, and lord mayor, made English engraving admired throughout Europe. Bartolozzi produced his refined etchings and original

"red chalk"

engravings. The Bewicks brought wood engraving from a low ebb to an extraordinary delicacy and perfection.

16. In music the untimely death of () cut off the prospect of a great school, but the sound traditions of Anglican church music still lingered on in many a cathedral close, and glees, madrigals, and ballads of great merit were composed. [16] The introduction of the , though laughed at by as foreign and womanish, brought to England the greatest musician of his time, the Saxon . lost his health and his fortune as manager of the Opera House, pouring out a whole series of operas, and struggling fiercely against his rival Buononcini. and Queen stood his firm friends, though Prince Frederick and the whole nobility ran after the poorer operas of the fashionable favourite. Disgusted at his failure, turned to the , and produced in his sublime . In London this at first fell flat, but it soon won a popularity that resulted in a wider love of serious music and a higher sense of the aims and dignity of the art. In the was established to perform

"such solid productions of old masters as an intemperate rage for

novelty has too soon laid aside."

Out of these famous concerts sprang the of . But though much good work was done in nearly every branch, the general level of taste and feeling was not very high in any of the arts at the end of the eighteenth century.

[17] 17. Literature and language faithfully mirrored back the age. The poets lacked passion and imagination, and were fast bound by self-imposed rules. Their favourite metre was the , their favourite themes were satire, compliment, and criticism. The tendencies of the time were best expressed in the exquisitely finished and polished verse of (-), who towered far above poets such as Prior, Gay, Parnell, not to speak of the swarm of Grub Street hacks that he ridiculed in the . But in 's followers the style which a great artist could ennoble became vapid, commonplace and artificial. The drama declined like poetry. The so-called school died away. 's attempt to bring into England the severe and stately forms of the classic French drama led only to his artificial but much quoted (), and perhaps to 's stilted (). The sentimental comedy which begins with 's appealed to the heart more than the head, while the broad farces of and Foote have no great claim to permanent fame. The last great dramas of the old style were 's (-) refined and humorous , and the brilliant and epigrammatic () and (), the fruitful and youthful work of Richard Brinsley , the Whig orator and partisan. But though few great plays were now produced, the drama more than held its own as a popular amusement, and the age of David , the famous player and manager (-) marked perhaps the most flourishing period of English acting.

Prose was better now than poetry. The end of the seventeenth century saw the establishment of a standard prose style, polished, easy, idiomatic, forcible, and exact. The English language became much what it still remains, though perhaps there was a leaning towards its Latin and Romance rather than its Teutonic elements. Even the mass of pamphlets and newspapers that reflected the political and theological controversies of the time showed the spread of a good style of writing. The , which began with 's in , became famous when joined him, and reached its height when in the two


friends began the , which

" brought philosophy out of closets, libraries and schools to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables and coffee-houses."

, the , and in a later generation 's and , kept up the popularity of essay writing; but under 's hands it lost the lightness of touch which was its greatest charm, and gave place to the magazine, the novel, and the political newspaper The terrible , Dean of St. Patrick's (), wrote the most nervous and robust of English prose, and the keenest and most biting satire on his fellow-men. His last great work, before his mind gave way in his lonely Irish exile, was his famous (). The greatest men of letters joined in the eager political controversies of the time. fiercely upheld the Tories and the Peace of Utrecht. Against him the polished wrote his way with his Whig pamphlets to a secretaryship of state. The strong but unscrupulous , whose () showed at its best his gift for

"forging a story and imposing it on the world for truth,"

wrote in his and a whole host of pamphlets on behalf of the Whigs and the Dissenters. The wise and good George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne in Ireland (-), carried on the work of , and answered the English Deists by denying the reality of matter in a style almost perfect for its clearness, strength, and balance.

In the new generation the Novel grew out of the form of the old romance turned to describe real life, and got its full growth in the broad and genial works of , the sentimental and pathetic writings of , the rough but vigorous painting of manners of , the quaint humour of , and 's charming idyll, the . Rough, kind, and noble Dr. (), poet, essayist, moralist, critic, and writer of an English Dictionary, was the centre of the literary life of more than one generation, so vividly pictured for us in 's matchless , and meeting together on one evening a week at the Turk's Head in Soho, in the or 's , as it was often called. History lost in accuracy and depth what it gained in art in the brilliant but superficial () of David . It kept a colder but more serious form in the commonplace but much admired works of Principal Robertson, and combined a scholarship that has never


been overthrown with the stateliest, most artificial of styles in the () of . But the eighteenth century cared little for history except as an elegant amusement, and preferred to build up its theories of life and nature without its aid. 's greatness as a philosopher is almost the measure of his failure as an historian. From his impulse has flowed nearly all later English thought on the nature of knowledge, and reality, and the character of moral action. alone of that age knew how deep the roots of the present lie in the past.

A great change came over English thought and literature about the middle of the century. A new school of poetry arose with Allan Ramsay's (), and James 's (). It received a great stimulus from the revived study of the romantic past which was brought about by the publication of the old ballads contained in Bishop Percy's ( ), and by the renewed study of Chaucer, Shakspere, and the Elizabethan dramatists, which was first marked by the Shaksperian revival brought about on the stage by , and in literature by a whole series of commentaries and editions of the greatest of English writers. Even the turgid bombast which published in as the poems of the old Gael Ossian had extraordinary influence from its depicting a free, rugged, unconventional society, and because with much that was forged it included fragments of real Highland tradition. The style and subject of poetry equally changed. The way of writing became more varied and natural, and bit by bit poets shook off the bondage of the heroic couplet. Writers again began to revel in country life and in beautiful scenery, and even in the fierce and wild mountains, hitherto an object of horror, which they described with sympathy and enthusiasm. Their view of man became enlarged, widened, and deepened, and they went through the artificialities and conventionalities of society down to the elemental passions of the human heart. The all-pervading influence of was felt here as in politics, in religion, philanthropy, and manners. The new spirit took different shapes in the spontaneous and musical lyrics and living satires in the northern dialect of the Ayrshire farmer, (-), the delicate humour and pure natural feeling of (), the stern and realistic pictures of village life of George (), and even the Elizabethan tone


and strange prophetic vision of the neglected poet and artist, (). Towards the end of the century it comes to a head in the so-called , of which and are the highest types. But before this all the old landmarks were changed by the outbreak of the French Revolution.


[1] English trade before 1760.

[2] The Industrial Revolution.

[3] Roads Tramways, and Canals.

[4] The Factory System and its results.

[5] The Agrarian Revolution.

[6] Enclosures, Corn Laws, and Pauperism.

[7] The Evangelical Movement.

[8] Religious Toleration.

[9] Humanitarianism and Philanthropy.

[10] Howard and the prisons.

[11] Movement against the Slave-Trade.

[12] Manners and Amusements.

[13] Dress.

[14] Architecture.

[15] Painting.

[16] Music

[17] Literature.

[1] 1789.]

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