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

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

1898

BOOK IX: 1760-1820INTRODUCTION.

's long reign witnessed many great and far-reaching changes. In England was not very different from the England of the Revolution. In modern England had been practically built up.

In politics upset for a time the constitution of conventions on which the power of the Whig aristocracy was based. But in the struggle he lost the American colonies and the great position in Europe which Chatham had won for England. Yet he succeeded in the end, because he got the people on his side. His triumph marks the faint beginnings of the movement which was in the end to bring the people into power.

England's vigour and energy soon won her European influence back, and laid the foundations of a new commercial and colonial empire. The went on almost without a break.

A great was now making England, hitherto almost altogether a trading and farming country, the workshop of the world. A long series of inventions made the Factory System possible. The results were an increasing population, wealth more quickly and easily won, more progress in material civilisation, and the shifting of the real centre of the country from the south to the north. But great dangers also came in. There were more glaring contrasts of riches and poverty, of luxury and want. The factory hand lived a wretched life in the unhealthy workshop and the stifling town. The new manufacturers looked with bitter jealousy on the old aristocracy. But a new zeal for religion, and a new zeal for humanity, led many good, unselfish

73

[1] 
Introduction. men to do their best to make the new state of things bearable.

While all this was going on, the eighteenth century system began to break up. The ideas on which it was founded had been already attacked by Voltaire and , and its political conventions rudely assailed by of Prussia. The completes its wreck.

England weathered the storm better than any other country, though her institutions were sorely tried, and though she had a special danger in distressed and discontented Ireland, now bound more closely to Britain by the Union.

Revolution soon brought about . professed to carry out the work of the Revolution, while really promoting the reaction. But he strove only for himself, and sought to set up a new universal monarchy. England saved Europe from , and upheld the doctrine of nationality, from which so much good was soon to come.

After 's fall the restored priests and despots of the tried to undo what was good in the Revolution, on the pretence of getting rid of the bad, and waged war against and . England now suffered more from the Reaction than from the Revolution, but she never quite sided with the restored kings of the Continent. But disgust of the long Tory rule now led to a further popular movement, beginning as soon as the war was over. However, before the reaction was completed died.

 
 
Footnotes:

[1] 1760.]

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