History of England, Part III, William and Mary to 1887
Tout, T. F. --Powell, F. York
CHAPTER V: George II., Wesley and Pitt 1739-1760
1.  The country grew richer during the years of peace that succeeded the Treaty of Aachen. The peace-loving, plodding Henry carried out his modest but useful plans of reform, and carefully avoided stirring up opposition. The interest payable on the national debt was reduced to three per cent. Lord Hardwicke, the Chancellor, a famous lawyer, passed a to check secret marriages (), and a system of licensing public-houses counteracted the evils which the wide prevalence of spirit drinking, a new fashion brought in from Holland, had produced. But the sluggishness of 's government, as opposed as 's to all great changes, was reflected in the deadness of the nation to higher things. Men believed that religion, enthusiasm, patriotism were dying and rightly giving way to reason, solid good sense, and general love of mankind. In particular, the old religious hatreds that had raged so fiercely when was on the throne had largely yielded to the easy common-sense tolerance of the new generation. The High Church and the Puritan parties equally lost ground. The bishops were now mostly Low Churchmen, or Latitudinarians, or, as we should call them, Broad Churchmen. The country clergy remained High Church, and quarrelled so fiercely with the bishops in Convocation that, after , it was not allowed to meet again to transact business. Laymen became careless and sceptical. Preachers taught that men should be prudent, moral, and moderate. Their sermons were
A school, which disbelieved in miracles and revelation, grew up, headed by Collins and Tindal, called the , against whom Joseph , Bishop of Durham, wrote his famous (). Leading clergymen were anxious to escape signing the Articles and repeating the Creeds. English Presbyterians were becoming Unitarians. Church-going ceased to be fashionable, and few new churches were built. Side by side with learning and dull good sense, among the educated classes, there was much gross neglect of duty and corruption,
|while among the masses brutality, ignorance, drunkenness, and vice were hardly kept in check.|
2.  The most emotional and enthusiastic of modern forms of Protestant religion sprang up in strong reaction to the general temper ofthis period. About , a few earnest Oxford men formed a little society which met to discuss religious questions, and whose members were remarkable for the holiness and good order of their lives. They fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays, received the Communion once a week, and ministered to the sick, the poor, and the prisoners in Oxford gaol. They were laughed at by their fellow-students, and nicknamed . Their leader was (), fellow of Lincoln College, a man of extraordinary force of character, who had learnt from the of the holy Nonjuror, William Law, a lofty and fervent piety. His brother, , afterwards famous as a hymn- writer, also joined the movement. They were both High Churchmen, like their father Samuel, rector of Epworth, Lincolnshire. Others of the little group were , servitor of Pembroke College, the son of a Gloucester innkeeper, who soon gained extraordinary influence by his vivid and heart-stirring sermons, and , author of the . They continued their meetings until , when the Wesleys left Oxford, and went on a mission to the colony of Georgia, just established by the warm-hearted General Oglethorpe as a refuge for debtors. But in returned to England, after altogether failing in his work in America. He was strangely despondent when he learnt from the (a German sect of gentle enthusiasts) that he had not yet been converted to a true sense of religion. At last, in a little room in Aldersgate Street, during a meeting of the society,
Inspired with this belief, and his friends preached with a stronger fervour and an unwonted zeal. The congregations groaned or wept, swayed by intense feeling, or they broke up the services by violence and riot. The sober and decorous clergy thought the Methodists mad, and refused to let them preach in their churches. In , therefore, the Methodists first built chapels of their own, though they declared that they were not dissenters, but anxious only to labour in the
ground left untilled by the Church. In the same year
began to preach in the fields to the half-savage
colliers of Kingswood, near Bristol. Tears ran down the
blackened cheeks of his rude hearers as he spoke with
intense pathos of death, sin, repentance, and the wrath to
come. , who had |
was driven into following 's example. For the rest of their lives the two great preachers wandered ceaselessly over the land; wherever they went they excited a storm of opposition or of enthusiasm. Often they were in danger of their lives, hooted at, pelted, maltreated by brutal mobs, and left to protect themselves by weak and bigoted magistrates. They were denounced as Papists, as hypocrites, as impostors. The wild excitement following from their preaching often produced the maddest extravagances. But they roused many thousands to lead new lives, and to shake off sluggish indifference or brutal vice. They stamped a profound impression upon English character which has not yet been effaced.
 was an eloquent enthusiast who appealed chiefly to the emotion of the moment, but was a man of forethought and a remarkable organiser. He saw that to make the effects of his preach- ing last, he must establish an organised society. The Methodist body, over which he exercised a dictatorship, soon grew into a large and well-governed community, which, as time went on, gradually drifted into the position of a new dissenting sect. To the last professed his attachment to the Church of England; but by ordaining his lay-preachers, and empowering them to administer the Holy Communion, he established a precedent which, after his death, resulted in total separation. But long before this the Methodist camp had begun to be broken up. was a Calvinist, like the old Puritans, while 's High Church surroundings had made him a strong , who believed that God's grace was open to all mankind. They accordingly parted company, and attached himself to Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, a pious lady, whose chaplains stood half-way between conformity and dissent. But the great preacher's lack of the statesmanlike gifts of caused
as the English Calvinistic Methodists were called, to gradually dwindle away.
Only in Wales did Calvinistic Methodism take deep root.
|There a parallel movement had been going on-started early in the century by Griffith Jones, Rector of Llanddowror, in Carmarthenshire, who invented a system of circulating schools, and carried on by Daniel Rowlands, vicar of Llangeitho, in Cardiganshire, and Howel Harris of Trevecca, near Brecon, in whose house Lady Huntingdon established a college for her preachers. Greater corruption in the ignorant and isolated clergy, and the extraordinary fervour and eloquence of the simple men who preached to the people in their own tongue, resulted in a movement of lasting importance. But it was not until that, under the guidance of of Bala, the Welsh Methodists gave up their regular connection with the Established Church.|
In Scotland and Ireland religious conditions were too different for the movement to exercise much influence. But in British America it spread like wildfire, and to-day the Methodists are the most numerous body of American Protestants.
3.  While 's self-devotion and noble zeal were reviving religious enthusiasm in the face of torpor and vice, , with eloquence even greater, and with devotion as unselfish, was striving to restore high ideals and noble ambitions among the governing classes soiled by the corruption of , and guided only by the timid expediency of the Pelhams. The grandson of a governor of Madras, abandoned the army for a seat in Parliament, as representative of the deserted hill of Old Sarum. His thunders against first brought him into notice.
Like , he was a consummate actor, while his
Gold could not tempt him, and he was loftily conscious of his rare power and his high mission. Poor, without great connections, he looked to the mass of the people of England rather than to the crowd of venal place-hunters that he addressed in the House. His marriage with Lady , sister of Lord , brought him into touch with a noble Whig family, but it lost him more than he gained. When he had
|driven from power, he thundered with equal vehemence against the Hanoverian and unpopular policy of . At last Henry silenced him by office in ; but on the Prime Minister's death, in , stood forth again in his solitary grandeur as the one popular hero among the statesmen of the day.|
4.  The Duke of stepped into his brother's place. , the great statesman's younger son, thus describes him:
 This fussy busybody almost wrecked his ministry by giving the leadership of the House of Commons to Sir Thomas Robinson, a man as insignificant as himself. He was compelled to replace him by the able and eloquent, but unscrupulous and unpopular, Henry , an old rival of . But as there was a likelihood of war, all 's electioneering craft and parliamentary management could not compensate for the loss of confidence and popularity that followed 's dismissal.  In November resigned; but and the Duke of Devonshire, who now became ministers, found that without 's command over votes they were unable to carry on the government. At last the good sense of Lord Chesterfield healed the third Whig schism.  In June a coalition was brought about by which and became sharers of power. became First Lord of the Treasury, and Secretary of State. The gallant took charge of the Admiralty. The Duke confined himself to his natural sphere of intrigue and corruption, and to the peddling details of administration in which he delighted. Scornfully regardless of such sordid cares, the great Commoner threw his whole soul into the conduct of the war, which had broken out disastrously for England, while factions were raging in Parliament, and feeble governments struggling in vain for power.
5. Ever since the Revolution England had been growing richer through foreign trade, and her colonies and possessions were steadily rising in importance. Her old rival, Holland, had given up competing against her, and had become
|her ally; while Portugal, the earliest European colonial power, had, since the (), become her dependant.  But Spain and France watched the expansion of England with great jealousy, and even Austria was thoroughly disgusted at the selfish way in which the trade of the Netherlands had been sacrificed to English interests. The naval war with Spain in (since with France also), began a long struggle for the possession of India and America, which continued without a break till ; and whether peace or war prevailed at home, continued hostilities marked the fierce struggle of France and England for the possession of India and the New World.|
6.  The great Mogul Empire, which had ruled northern and controlled southern India, broke up after the death of Aurangzeb in . India was plunged into extreme confusion. The and viceroys of the Emperor of Delhi now became, like the counts and dukes of the Roman Empire in the middle ages, independent and hereditary princes. The Hindus had long submitted to the rule of the foreign Mohammedan Moguls, but the successes of the warlike Marathas now marked a great Hindu revival. The companies of foreign merchants, who had long been rulers of trading settlements, now won for themselves political independence. After the Whig joined the Tory to form the . The restoration of the monopoly led to a great increase of their trade, and their stations of , Fort St. George (Madras), and Fort William (Calcutta) became the centres of a great and rich commerce. They found a keen competitor in the French India Company, whose chief seats were at Pondicherri, near Madras, and in the isles of Bourbon and France (Mauritius). But Francois Joseph Dupleix, the brilliant and far-seeing Governor of Pondicherri (since ), was the first European to perceive that, in the anarchy springing from the break up of the Mogul Empire, Europeans might hope for political rule as well as riches.  He took advantage of the Austrian Succession war to capture Madras in , and this conquest, though given back by the peace of , spread the fame of France throughout southern India. A more dangerous form of rivalry followed during the years of peace, which were not years of peace in India. Dupleix saw that by setting one native state or one
|rival prince against the other, he might take a leading part in Indian affairs; while by drilling Indian troops (Sepoys) in the European way, he might make them as good as European soldiers, and easily defeat the huge but untrained hosts of the native princes, and with Indian arms and Indian gold make the vast continent subject to a small and distant European state. For India is a continent, not a nation. Its inhabitants are of many grades of civilisation, many religions, races, and tongues. No cohesion or unity was possible in such a vast mass of different elements. Here Dupleix's plans were as practicable as they were brilliant.|
8.  While and were conquering India, a similar struggle between England and France was being fought out in North America. The English colonies, thirteen in number, were grouped along the eastern seaboard. In the north were the colonies, the settlements of seventeenth century Puritanism, and now free democracies, with, in some cases, even the privilege of electing their own governor. These were South of them were and , which in had been conquered from the Dutch. The coast beyond was included in (cut off from in ) and (), while the great quaker colony of () extended far into the interior. Pennsylvania was still a , and the
the sons of William Penn, the founder, were overlords of the whole country, nominated the governor, and were constantly quarrelling with the Assembly. , the great tobacco-planting state, founded in , came next. With its planter aristocracy, sprung from good English families, its population of slaves, and its Church of England religion, it stood in the strongest contrast to New England, whose inhabitants were yeomen farmers and small traders, with few inequalities of wealth or rank. It was, however, the most advanced of the colonies, and took the lead in all colonial movements. () lay south of Virginia, while () separated South Carolina from the Spanish colony of Florida. Georgia had been founded by the philanthropic Oglethorpe as a refuge for debtors, and had been the place of the first labours of John . The colonies
|were now very flourishing, and fast increasing in population; but they were very jealous of each other, were discouraged from acting together, and had no common ideas save fear of the French and their Indian allies, and jealousy of English influence.|
9.  The French colonies enclosed the English on every side. Along the valley of the St. Lawrence lay Canada, the most important of them, while in the Gulf of St. Lawrence lay the islands of St. John (Prince Edward's Island) and Cape Breton, containing Louisbourg, a great fortress. Acadie, now called Nova Scotia, had been ceded to the English in , along with the whole of the great cod-fishing island of Newfoundland. In Halifax, its future capital, had been founded by the English Government, almost the only English settlement established purely by the state. But the English and French were still quarrelling about the boundaries of the ceded country, especially whether the coasts of the Bay of Fundy were or were not given up to England. There was another French settlement called , of which , named after the Regent Philip, was the capital. It stretched up the Mississippi valley, and threatened to shut the English out from access to the west. The French colonies were thinly inhabited, and badly governed; but the fur dealers and Indian traders were hardy, energetic, and daring; and, as in the East, the governors planned great schemes for extending the power of France. The French now took nearly all the Red Indians into their pay, drove the English traders over the Alleghanies, and set up a series of forts which aimed at connecting and Canada. Forts Frontenac and Toronto commanded Lake Ontario; Fort Niagara the passage to the south between the two great lakes; while Fort Duquesne, on the Alleghany river, was the key to the upper valley of the Ohio.
10.  The struggle for India and America was soon overshadowed by the outbreak of a great European war. A formidable coalition was formed, which, though mostly turned against Prussia, was also partly aimed at England. After the treaty of , European affairs took a new turn. Austria was so disgusted with England and Holland for making her give up Silesia and a large part of the Milanese, and for their old policy of putting down the trade of the Netherlands, that, by a bold stroke of Kaunitz, her minister, Maria Theresa established a close alliance with the French, hoping thus to ruin Prussia, or at least get back Silesia. Russia, under the Empress Elizabeth, joined them. Sweden followed her example. The weak and dilettante Augustus, Elector of Saxony, who was also King of Poland, was, with many of the smaller states of Germany, also won over. Prussia was thus forced to struggle for its very existence; but the Great showed wonderful coolness, presence of mind, and energy in the face of danger. The old jealousies with his uncle George now seemed to vanish. In great alarm England made, in , a treaty with Prussia. anticipated attack by overrunning the territory of his least formidable enemy, Saxony, and compelled the Saxon army to surrender at Pirna (15th October ), after the Austrians had been defeated in an attempt to relieve it at the (1st October). This was the beginning of what is properly called the
12.  Such was the state of things when , in June , became minister.
He at once set to work with extraordinary energy to restore the flagging spirits of his countrymen.
Such is an enemy's account of his success.
14.  On the 25th October , in the midst of these great successes, died suddenly. As his son, the pretentious and insincere , had died in , was succeeded by 's eldest son, His other son William created Duke of in , was the victor of Culloden, a man with none of the softer virtues, but possessed of courage, honesty, and obstinacy, a capable soldier, and a fervent patron of English sports.
 State of Religion. Latitudinarianism and Rationalism.
 The Methodist Movement, 1729-39.
 Arminian and Calvinistic Methodism, 1739-91.
 Welsh Methodism, 1730-1811.
 William Pitt, 1708-78.
 Whig schism after Pelham's death, 1764-57.
 Newcastle Ministry, 1754-56.
 Devonshire Ministry, 1756-57.
 The Pitt-Newcastle Ministry, 1757-61.
 Origin of the Seven Years' War, 1748-55.
 France and England in India.
 Dupleix, 1741-1754.
 The North American Colonies.
 England and France in North America.
 The attack on Prussia, 1756.
 Pitt's victories, 1757-60.
 Death of George II., 1760.