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18th Century Timeline

Constantinople and
Moscow sign truce
Duke of Gloucester where the Russians
The first piano is
the only surviving keep Azov but
built, William
son of Princess of relinquish their Black
Congreve'sThe Way
Anne dies resulting in Sea Fleet, The Great
of the World, Samuel Increasing popularity
1700 the succession to the Northern War
Sewall's The Selling of the Commode
English throne between Russia and
of Joseph condeming
moving to the Sweden (until 1721),
the evils of the slave
Electress Sophia of Last of the Spanish
trade
Antoine Cadillac Hanover Hapsburgs Charles II
of Spain dies setting
up succession crisis
Foundation of
War of the Spanish
the Society for
succession (also
the Propagation
known as Queen
of the
Anne's War) (until
Gospel, Delawar Daniel Defoe's The
1713), Rise of
e agrees to James II dies in exile, True Born
Ashanti kingdom in
establish England joins Grand Englishmandefends
West Africa, Antoine
separate Alliance to prevent the king against Jethro Tull invents
1701 Cadillac founds
legislature Spain and France xenophobia of seed-planting drill
colonial settlement of
fromPennsylvani uniting under a single enemies by satirising
Fort Pont-Chartrain
a, 'Grand Bourbon ruler the English claim to
to control the route
Settlement' racial purity
between Lake Huron
treaties by
and Lake Erie (it is
Iroquois with
later known as
English and
Detroit)
French

Death of William III


and replaced
East India Cotton
by Anne, Duke of Grand Alliance
Company Mather's Magnalia
Marlborough formally declares war
establish Christi
becomes Captain on France, Serfdom
1702 settlement Americana detailing
General of English abolished in
onPulo Condor the Ecclesiastical
Armed Forces, He Denmark, French
Island off the history of New
takes Venlo, settle in Alabama
coast of Vietnam England
Ruremonde and
Liege Daniel Defoe in
Pillory

Duke of Marlborough Asiento Guinea Daniel Defoe Eddystone


Surat
captures Bonn and Company set up to sentenced to the Lighthouse destroyed
incorporated into
1703 invades Spanish allow French to trade pillory for his by storm, Isaac
Bombay by the
Netherlands, slaves to Spanish pamphlet The Newton elected
EIC
Methuen Treaty possessions in Shortest Way with President of Royal
between Portugal and Americas, 47 Ronin Dissenterslampoonin Society
England commit suicide in g non-conformists,
Japan, Grand Death of Samuel
Alliance proclaims Pepys
Archduke Charles of
Austria as rightful
King of Spain

Gibralter capture
d, French and
Bach writes
Indian allies Marlborough wins Newton explains
first Cantata,
1704 massacre the battle of principles of Colour
Handel's St John
colonists at Blenheim inOptics
Passion
Deerfield Conne
cticut
Blenheim

Pulo Condor
Halley predicts return
Island settlement
English help Bey Husain ibn Ali of comet, Isaac
destroyed, Act to
1705 Archduke of Austria founds dynasty at Handel's Almira Newton knighted,
permit export of
to take Barcelona Tunis Thomas Newcomen
Irish linen to
invents steam engine
America
French driven out of Construction begins
Charleston South
Battle of Ramillies Italy, Archduke on a new lighthouse
Carolina is
where Marlborough Charles of Austria is on the Eddystone
successfully
1706 routs French and crowned King of Rocks designed by
defended against
conquers Spanish Spain in Madrid but Rudyard, Henry Mill
French and
Netherlands then driven out by invents carriage
Spanish attack
Philip V springs
Act of Union between von Tschirnhans and
England and Death of Moghul Bottger discover how
Edward
British arrive in Scotland, Cricket emperor Aurangzeb to manufacture the
Lhuyd's Archeologica
1707 Acadia in mentioned as a leads to the beginning Chinese style 'hard'
Britannicaon Celtic
Eastern Canada common recreation in of the decline of porcelain in Dresden,
Languages
Chamberlayne's State Moghul rule in India Denis Papin invents
of England high pressure boiler
British East India
Company and
the New East
India Company Boerhaave's Institutio
Marlborough defeats Charles XII of
merged into the Bach becomes court nes medicae with his
1708 French at Battle of Sweden invades
United East India organist at Weimar theory on
Oudenarde Ukraine
Company, inflammation
British
captureMinorca
and Sardinia
German
Peace negotiations
Protestant Abraham Darby uses
begin at Hague,
refugees from Marlborough's coke to smelt Iron -
Afghanistan
Palatine helped victory at Malplaquet, the more efficient
1709 separated from
by Queen Ann to First copyright laws process will lead to
Persian empire, Battle
settle in established in Britain huge increase in
of Poltava limits
American demand for coal
Swedish inroads
colonies Battle of Malplaquet

British capture
French Acadia
(becomesNova
Scotia), Colonel
Schuyler
from New
South Sea Company
York Colony Le Blon develops
set up and granted a Dutch St Paul's Cathedral
1710 brings five three colour printing
monopoly of trade abandon Mauritius completed
Iroquois chiefs to process
with South America
London to
impress them
with British
power and to
show to Queen
Anne
Tuscarora war
between settlers
and Indians
in North French sack Rio de
Carolina, British Dismissal of Janeiro, Russia and Handel visits London
1711 attempt invasion Marlborough as Turkey fight war where he
of French Commander in Chief Russia returns Azov completesRinaldo
Canada but lose to Ottomans
10 ships as they
enter St. Tuscarora War
Lawrence River
Utrecht Peace
Conference opens,
Last execution for Thomas Newcomen
Slave revolts Antoine Crozat John Arbuthnot's The
1712 witchcraft, Rob Roy invents atmospheric
in New York granted possession of History of John Bull
declared outlaw piston engine
Louisiana for 15
years
The War of the French and Spanish
Spanish forced to agree not to
Succession is unite their kingdoms Roger Cotes revises
concluded with by the Treaty of Newton's Principia,
the Treaty of Utrecht, Louis XIV is Smallpox inoculation
1713 Handel's Te Deum
Utrecht. Britain given Coffee bush technique arrives in
receives which becomes the London from
generous ancestor of all New Constantinople
allocations of World coffee plants
land and colonies when it is stolen and
in the Americas Treaty of Utrecht's taken
and the effect on Americas to Martinique in 1723
Mediterranean, to cultivate
Britain formally
receivesNewfoun
dland, St.
Kitts and
Hudson's Bay in
Canada. Britain
also
recives Minorca
andGibraltar fro
m Spain, Britain
also gains the
right to import
slaves into
Spanish colonies
in Americas
Board of
Longitude
Fahrenheit devises
established in
mercury
London to
King George I starts thermometer,
encourage a way Peace of Rastatt and
1714 Hanoverian line of The Rape of the Lock Dominique Anel
of calculating Peace of Baden
monarchy in England devises fine-pointed
Longitude
syringe for surgical
accurately by
purposes
offering
monetary prize
First Jacobite
French
rebellions to protest
take Mauritius from
against the new
Dutch control, Death
Hanoverian line,
of Louis XIV
Yamasee war Jacobites defeated at
replaced by five year Brook Taylor invents
of South Sherriffmuir, The
1715 old Louis XV with the calculus of finite
Carolina against Pretender arrives at
the Duke of Orleans differences
Indians Peterhead to try to
as his regent,
rally support to his
Japanese limit copper
cause, First
exports by Dutch and
parliament of King
Chinese traders Jacobite Surrender
George I's reign
French build fortress
in Louisbourg
Canada; China
invades Tibet, John
Law sets up Banque
Pretender leaves Generale which
Scotland and returns issues paper money in
to France, Treaty of France with the First Company of
Westminster between intention of English actors arrives
1716 Britain and the Holy stabilising the French in Americas to Death of Leibniz
Roman Empire, First economy after the perform in
banknotes War of Spanish Williamsburg
issued, Royal Succession, Holy
Artillery founded Roman Empire joins
war against Ottoman
Turks, Christian
The Carolinas religious teaching
prohibited throughout
China
Mughal Emperor Spanish establish
gives British viceroyalty of New
customs Triple Alliance Granada in South Lady Mary Wortley
exemption in nations force French America, John Law Montague develops
Handel's Water
1717 Bengal, to expel the Old takes control of popularity of
Music
Shenandoah Pretender from Mississippi Company smallpox inoculation
valley forcibly France and merges it with in England
settled as Indians Banque Generale in
are evicted France
The pirate New Orleans founded
Edward Teach by Mississippi
(Blackbeard) is company, Spain
killed in North Britain declares war reasserts claim to
Sir Thomas Lombe
Carolina, Yale on Spain, The Battle Texas, The
patents a machine
University is of Cape Quadruple Alliance is
1718 which can
named after Passaro where Byng formed between
manufacture thrown
Elihu Yale, First defeats Spanish off France, Holy Roman
silk
wave of Ulster Sicily Empire, England and
emigration to Holland and declares The Battle of Cape
American war on Spain, Great Passaro
colonies Northern War Ends

An attempted
Spanish John Law's
invasion of Britain by
attack The Mississippi Company
Spain fails to make
Bahamas from issues shares which
landfall due to Daniel
Cuba, Ireland rise phenomenally in
1719 storms, Britain lands Defoe's Robinson
declared value, Afghans defeat
a force and captures Crusoe
inseperable from Persians at Herat,
Vigo before
Britain by British Oriental Company
advancing to
Government founded in Vienna
Pontevedra
Robinson Crusoe
South Sea bubble Mississippi bubble
Treaty of The financial scandal, financial scandal in
Daniel
Hague ends War Declaratory Act France, Spain
1720 Defoe's Captain
of Quardruple asserts authority of occupies Texas,
Singleton
Alliance British Parliament China claims Tibet as
over Ireland Protectorate
Guillaume Delisle's
Map of World

Mississippi Company
shares collapse in
French and Chancellor of
value bringing ruin to
English East Exchequer is
French economy and
India companies imprisoned in Tower
a distrust of Central
become serious of London for fraud
Banks which will
rivals in India, charges relating to the
endure for the Bach's Brandenburg
1721 Regular postal South Sea
remainder of the Concertos
services Bubble, Walpole bec
Century and hinder
introduced omes PM developing
France's ability to
between London policy of peace and
raise money
and New commercial
efficiently, China
England expansion
crushe revolt on
Taiwan
Iroquois sign an Treaty of Kiakhta
undertaking not defines Russian
to cross the Chinese border, Hoffman discovers
Potomac River Dutch reach Samoan that the base of Alum
Death of Duke of Daniel Defoe's Moll
1722 of Blue Ridge Islands and Easter is an individual
Marlborough Flanders
without the Island, Russia substance in its own
permission of the invades Persia, right
governor Austrian East India
of Virginia Company formed
Dahomey invades
Treaty of
Allada, Baku
Charlottenburg
surrenders to
between Britain and Death of Antony von
Russians, Gabriel de Christopher Wren
Prussia to arrange the Leeuwenhoek,
1723 Cheu steals coffee dies, Bach's St John
marriage of a Condoms advocated
plant from Jardin Passion
Prussian Princess to by White Kennett
Royale and takes it
the Prince of Wales,
toMartinique for
Workhouses started
cultivation
Constantinople and Charles
The slave
Moscow agree to Johnson's General
population
dismember the History of the
of South Hermann
Increasing popularity Persian Empire, Asaf Robberies and
1724 Carolinaoutnumb Boerhaave's Elements
of Gin Jah retires from Murders of the Most
ers the settler of Chemistry
Moghul empire to Notorious Pirates,
population by
become Independent Proffesorships of
two to one
ruler of Hyderabad, modern history and
Paris Bourse opens languages are
founded at
Cambridge and
Oxford
Alexander Pope
The Treaty of
Ottomans take translates
Hanover is signed
Tabriz, Peter the Homer's The St Petersburg
between Great
1725 Great of Russia dies Odyssey, First Academy of Science
Britain, France and
and is succeeded by Encyclopedia printed Founded
Prussia in opposition
his wife Catherine in China as Gujin
to Spain
Tushu Jicheng

General George
Wade begins
building
Spanish found John Harrison invents
extensive system Swift's Gulliver's
Montevideo in order gridiron pendulum,
of military roads Travels, Voltaire
1726 to prevent Portugese Stephen Hales
in Scottish begins exile in
expansion southwards measures blood
Highlands as a England
from Brazil pressure
precaution
against Jacobite
Uprisings
General George
Wade

War breaks out


between Britain
First coffee
and Spain,
plantations in Brazil,
Spanish
Amur frontier Daniel Defoe's The
besiege Gibralter King George Death of Isaac
1727 between China and Complete English
, Quakers make II becomes King Newton
Russia rectified, Peter Tradesman
demand to
II becomes Tsar of
abolish slavery
Russia
throughout
British Colonies
Jonathan Swift's A
Spanish raise
Short View on the
siege
State of Ireland which
of Gibralter,
severely criticises
Congress of
British policy in
Soissons sees
Ireland, Ephraim
Spain agreeing to
Danish explorer Chamber'sCyclopedia James Bradley
recognise British
1728 Bering discovers , William discovers aberration
possession
Straits Byrd publishesHistor of light of fixed starts
of Gibralter and
y of the Dividing
Minorcain return
Line which detailed
for Britain
differences between
recognising
Britain and the
Spanish rights in
American colonies,
Italy John Harrison Handel is appointed
co-director of the
King's Theatre in
London
Diamonds discovered
Bach's St Matthew Andrew Motte
North and South in Brazil, 200
Passion, Jonathon translates
Carolina become European settlers are
Swift publishes A Newton's Principiafro
Crown Colonies, killed by Natchez
Modest m Latin into English,
Benjamin and Treaty of Seville Indians after the
Proposal which Stephen Gray
1729 James Franklin formally ends Indians were asked to
satirises British discovers that some
begin to publish Spanish British War give up ancestral
policy towards Island bodies are conductors
The burial grounds,
and suggests that the and others non-
Pennsylvania Portuguese lose
Irish should eat their conductors of
Gazette Mombasa to Arab
own babies electricity
attacks
Viscount 'Turnip'
Townshend advocates
four-course crop
rotation system for
agricultural which
Janissaries revolt and
revolutionises
overthrow Sultan of
John and Charles agricultural
Turkey, Tsar Peter II Henry Fielding's The
Wesley found production,
1730 dies of smallpox and Tragedy of Tragedies
Methodist Sect at Edinburgh Royal
replaced by cousin or Tom Thumb
Oxford Infirmary founded,
Anne, Shah of Persia
alcohol thermometer
murdered
Horse Guards and with graduated scale
Downing Street constructed by
Reaumur, Zinc
smelting first
practiced in Britain
Treaty of Vienna
ends Britain's
war with Spain
but also marks
the re-start of
Anglo-French
enmity, English John Hadley invents
French fortify Crown
factory workers the reflecting
Point on Lake
are prohibited 10 Downing street quadrant which
1731 Champlain, Persians
from emigrating built allows latitude to be
defeated by Turks at
to American calculated by day or
Arijan
colonies, First by night
Maroon War in
Jamaica, Act
permitting some Harlot's Progress
direct Irish
imports from
America
Handel's Handel -
Esther receives first
James English oratorio, Carl von Linne
Prussia introduces
Oglethorpe Covent Garden Opera travels through
1732 compulsory military
founds Georgia f House opens, Scandanavia studying
service
or 'poor debtors' Academie of Ancient plant life
Music founded in
Savannah, Georgia London

James
Oglethorpe
founds
Savannah, the
Philadelphia
Spanish treasure fleet
Zeitung starts
is wrecked on the John Kay invents the
life as the first British Courts abolish
Florida Keys, War of flying shuttle which
non-English the use of Latin
Polish succession Bach's Mass in B will revolutionise
1733 newspaper in the within them, Political
begins (until 1738), Minor textile production,
American crisis over excise
French declare war First perambulator
colonies, duties
on Holy Roman (pram) designed
Molasses Act
Empire
prohibits
American trade
with French
colonies in the
Caribbean
8,000 Salzburg
Protestants settle
Voltaire's Letters
in Georgiawhilst War breaks out
Concerning the
large number of Anglo-Russian Trade between Turkey and First fire extinguisher
1734 English Nation where
Schwenkenfelder Agreement Persia, Russians invented
he praises the English
s from Silesia occupy Danzig
Constitution
settle
in Delaware
Georgia bans the
import of slaves
and alcohol, War of Polish
Linnaeus develops
John and Charles Succession ends,
categorisation system
Wesley embark Persians defeat
in his Systema
for Georgia, William Pitt elected Ottomans at
1735 Naturae, Maillet
Libel trial in as MP for Old Sarum Baghavand ending
develops evolutionary
New York war, French
hypothesis in
establishes settlement at
his Telliamed
freedom of press Vincennes in Indiana
in North
America
John Harrison Hard 'India' Rubber
presents his arrives in Britain for
chronometer to War between Russia Voltaire's Les the the first time,
1736 Riots in Edinburgh
the Board of and Turkey Americains Claudius Aymand
Longitude it is performs first
found to be successful operation
accurate to for appendicitis,
within one-tenth Leonhard Euler
of a second per begins study of
day and win's the analytical mechanics
board's prize,
Slave Plot in
Antigua
William All plays required to Vienna declares war
Carolus
Byrd founds be submitted to Lord on Constantinople,
1737 Handel's Berenice Linnaeus' Genera
Richmond, Virgi Chamberlain for Earthquake kills
Plantarum
nia censorship 300,000 in India
Captain Jenkins
advocates war in
Caribbean Pneumatic Caisson
against Spain, invented, Bernoulli
John and Charles
British troops explains pressure and
Wesley return to Turks take Orsova,
sent to Georgiain velocity of fluids
1738 Britain where they The excavation of
anticipation of inHydrodynamica,
establish the Herculaneum begins
dispute with Carolus
Methodist Society
Spain, George Linnaeus' Critica
Whitefield Botanica
Anson's Centurion
arrives
Rounding the Horn
in Georgia
French explorers
Pierre and Paul
War of Jenkins' Mallet sight Rocky
ear against the Mountains for first
Spanish (until time, Nadir Shah
1748), Britain Holy Roman Empire invades India and
captures Porto signs peace treaty sacks Delhi, Peacock David Hume's A
John Winthrop
Bello in Panama, with Turks as they Throne taken back to Treatise of Human
1739 publishes his Notes
Stono slave approach Belgrade, Persia, Marthas Nature, Handel's Saul
on Sunspots
revolts in South Dick Turpin hanged invade Mughals from and Israel in Egypt
Carolina, Peace at York West, Mughal power
settlement with is in decline and
Maroons in Indian sub-continent
Jamaica is becoming
increasingly
destabilised
Anson
despatched to
Pacific to attack Benjamin Huntley
Spanish rediscovers the
possessions there crucible method of
Frederick II becomes
(returns 1744 steel manufacturing,
Gin sales reach all king of Prussia, War Thomas Arne's Rule
1740 after Abraham Trembley
time high of Austrian Britannia
circumnavigating discovers the hydra a
succession
the world), freshwater polyp,
Anson Berlin Academy of
recognises Science founded
strategic value
of Falkland
Islands, Admiral
Vernon dilutes
Navy's rum
ration which is
ever after
referred to as
Grog, North
American
colonies linked
by roads and
packet boats
British launch
unsuccessful
attack on
Spanish
stronghold of
Cartagena, The
attack was Robert
Victor Behring
launched by Walpole refers to
discovers Alaska and
Admrial Vernon 'Balance of Power' as
Aleutian Islands but
whose force was primary British aim
dies of hunger and
ravaged by of Foreign Policy,
cold, Russian David Linnaeus establishes
disease, The Highway Act in
1741 explorer Alexei Hume's Essays, Botanical Gardens in
attack included England to improve
Cherikov lands in Moral and Political Uppsala
Captain the the Roads and
California, Dupleix
Lawrence transportation system,
becomes the
Washington Royal Military
commandant general
(father of Academy in
for French in India
George) who Woolwich is opened
returned home
and renamed his
home Mount
Vernon in
honour of his
commander
Spencer Compton,
Spanish
Earl of
invade Georgia f
Wilmington PM, Celsius devises
rom Florida, Treaty of Berlin ends Handel's Messiah
1742 Cotton factories centigrade scale,
Coal is first Silesian War (complete work)
begin to appear in Edmund Halley dies
discovered in
Birmingham and
West Virginia
Northampton
Sheffield Silver
Anson captures King George Austrians drive
developed,
Spanish treasure II defeats French at French and Bavarian
1743 Champagne business
ship in East Dettingen,Henry troops out of Bavaria,
founded by Claude
Indies Pelham PM Pogroms in Russia
Moet

George II at
Dettingen

Robert Clive
arrives in Madras
as a clerk, Anson
returns from his
God Save the Queen
circumnavigation France declares war
Second Silesian War, is published
of the world, on Britain, First
Prussia takes Prague inThesaurus Musicus, Serson develops
1744 King George's recorded cricket
before being driven Death of Alexander gyroscope stabiliser
War (1744 - 48) match with Kent
back into Saxony Pope, Bach's Well-
in America along playing All England
Tempered Clavier
St. Lawrence,
French occupy
Annapolis Nova
Scotia

Jacobite rebellion
(1745 - 46),
Ewald Jurgen von
Fort Louisbourg Hanoverians defeated
Kleist invents the
1745 captured from by Jacobites at Treaty of Dresden
capacitor (Leyden
the French Prestonpans, French
Jar)
defeat British at
Fontenoy
Charles Stewart
entering Edinburgh

Battle of Culloden
ends Jacobite
Rebellion as Charles Mazrui dynasty in
Madras captured Stewart flees to Mombasa becomes Joshua Reynolds' The
1746
by French France, Wearing of independent from Eliot Family
tartan banned as it Oman
was regarded as
symbol of jacobitism Anson at Cape
Finistere
Afghanistan united
Britain wins
after death of Shah of
naval battle at Benjamin Robins
Persia, French defeat Handel's Judas
Cape speaks to Royal
Anglo-Dutch army at Maccabaeus written
Finistere,James Society on physics of
1747 Laufeld, William IV to celebrate
Lind begins trials a spinning projectile
of Orange-Nassau Cumberland's victory
looking at the and its military
becomes hereditary at Culloden
treatment of application
stadtholder, Oyo
scurvy
defeat Dahomey
Dr James Lind and
Scurvy Trials

French
regain Cape
Breton Island but First blast furnace
return Madras to built, Platinum
Britain under the arrives in Europe
Treaty of Aix la
terms of the from South America,
Chapelle ending War Bach's The Art of
Treaty of Aix la John Fothergill
1748 of Austrian Fugue (Die Kunst der
Chapelle, publishes Account of
Succession, Pompeii Fuge) /Tachezi
American the Sore Throat
excavated
colonists cross attended with
the Alleghany Ulcers which
Divide despite describes diphtheria
agreements to
Indian tribes
Halifax Nova
Scotia is founded
and fortified in
response to the
French
settlement at
Louisberg,
French forces
advance into
Consolidation Act of Henry Fielding's Tom
Ohio valley and
1749 Royal Navy ushers in Jones, Chippendale
claim it for Louis
reforms to the service opens workshop
XV, British grant
permission to
Ohio Company
to settle around Establishment of
the forks of the Halifax, Nova
Ohio Scotia
River, Georgiabe
comes a Crown
Colony
British and
Nicolas de Lacaille
French enter
Tea becomes Spanish-Portuguese Death of Bach, leads expedition to
discussions on
1750 increasingly popular Treaty on borders in Cleland's Memoirs of Cape of Good Hope
boundaries in
througout Britain South America Fanny Hill to determine solar
North America,
and lunar parallax
Thomas Walker
discovers the
Cumberland Gap
through the
Appalachian
Mountains, The
Iron Act passed
by Parliament
prohibits
Americans from
manufacturing
iron products but
allowing them to
trade pig iron for
manufactured
goods, Company
of Merchants
takes over
administration of
African forts,
Clive's
successful
defence of Arcot
Benjamin Franklin
Clive captures
Death of Prince of discovers the
Arcot and begins
Wales, Britain joins Diderot publishses electrical nature of
challenging
1751 Austria and Russia in China invades Tibet Vol. 1 lightning through kite
French for
alliance against of Encyclopedia experiment, First
supremacy in
Prussia mental asylums in
India
London
Logstown Treaty
Britain (and all
cedes Iroquois Treaty of Aranjuez George Berkeley's On
British colonies)
lands below between Spain and the Prospects of Franklin proposes
1752 adopts Gregorian
Ohio River Holy Roman Empire, Planting Arts and Theory of Electricity
calender leading to
to Virginia Colo Afghans take Lahore Learning in America
riots
ny

French occupy Ohio


French troops
valley in North British Museum
from Canada Jewish naturalization
1753 America; Burma granted Royal
seize Ohio laws
united under Foundation Charter
Valley
Alaungpaya

Commodore Keppel
French
government
recalls Joseph
Dupleix from
Indian leaving
Death of Henry
Britain in a
Fielding, David
strong position to
Hume'sHistory of
dominate the
Great Britain, John
sub-continent,
Woolman'sSome William
French and
Consideration on the Cookworthy pioneers
Indian War in
Duke of Keeping of creation of porcelain
North America
Newcastle PM, First Negroes attacking the in Plymouth,
1754 (until 1763)
Iron-rolling mill at institution of slavery Buffon's Histoire
begins with
Fareham, Hampshire and urging boycotting Naturelle, Joseph
Battle of
of slave made Black discovers
Jumonville Glen,
products, Thomas Carbonic Acid Gas
Albany George Washington Chippendale's The
Convention and Battle of Gentleman and
meets to discuss Jumonville Glen Cabinetmaker's
common defence
Directory
plans for 13
colonies and
Iroquois Nation
against French
aggression
Braddock
expedition in
North America Samuel
fails to take Fort Johnson's Dictionary,
Lisbon earthquake, Joseph
Duquesne from Benjamin
Smallpox outbreak in Black's Experiments
French, French Anglo-Austrian Franklin's Observatio
1755 South Africa ravages upon Magnesia,
surrender to Alliance dissolved ns Concerning the
Khoisan, Casanova Quicklime and other
British at Fort Increase of Mankind,
imprisoned Alkaline Substances
Beausejour, Peopling of
French defeated Countries,
at Battle of Lake
George

Black hole of Anglo-Prussian Seven Years War Construction begins


Calcutta, British Treaty of (until 1763) begins as on a new lighthouse
1756
lose Minorcato Westminster Duke of Prussia invades on the Eddystone
Spanish Devonshire PM Saxony Rocks

The Smeaton
Lighthouse

Clive recovers Duke of Frederick defeats Death of Domenico Sextant invented by


1757
Calcutta and Newcastle PM French and Austrians Scarlatti, Edmund John Campbell,
defeats Nawab of at battle of Rossbach, Burke's The Sublime James Lind's On the
Bengal at Battle Afghans take Delhi and the Beautiful Most Efficient Means
of Plassey and and Punjab of Preserving the
gains control of Health of Seamen
state, EIC
destroys French
outpost at
Chandernagore,
Benjamin
Franklin writes
from England to
Colonies
explaining how
best to avoid
British trading
restrictions
French defeat
British at The
Battle of
Ticonderoga,
British capture
Louisbourg,
British capture
Fort Frontenac,
George
Washington and Frederick defeats
John Forbes take Russians in East
Fort Duquesene Prussia,
(Pittsburgh), Prussian/Hanoverian
Halley's Comet
Clive becomes force defeats French First Dutch -
1758 appears as predicted
Governor of at Krefeld, Austrians Japanese dictionary
by Edmund Halley
Bengal, Battle of defeat Prussians at
Cuddalore sees Battle of Hochkirk,
British fleet Battle of Chinese occupy
indecisively fight Louisbourg Eastern Turkestan
French fleet off
Madras, Battle of
Negapatam sees
British fleet
defeat French
fleet off Indian
coast, Capture of
St. Louis
in Senegal
Wolfe captures
Quebec
signalling
beginning of end
to French
primacy along
the St. Lawrence British Museum
and in the Great opened, ,
Lakes region, Garrick's Hearts of
British capture Oak first performed,
French defeated at
Fort Death of Handel,
Minden, Austrians
1759 Ticonderoga, Haydn's Symphony
defeat Prussians at
EIC defeat Dutch No.1, Variations on a
Kunersdorf
at Battle of theme of Haydn
Chinsurah, Adam
British Smith's Theory of
capture Guadelo Moral Sentiments The Death of Wolfe
upe, Naval
victories at
Lagos and
Quiberon Bay,
Anglo-Cherokee
War
Lower
Canada effective
Dutch explorer
ly passes to
Jakobus Coetsee First exhibition of
Britain after
advances beyond the contemporary art at Botanical Gardens in
Amherst
Orange River in Royal Society of Kew open, Ben
captures
King George South Africa, Arts, Josiah Franklin's Some
Montreal, Robert
III King, Portsmouth Russians occupy and Wedgwood founds Account of the
1760 Clive leaves
Dockyard destroyed burn Berlin, pottery works at Success of
India, Tacky's
by Fire Austrians defeat Etruria in Inoculation for the
slave rebellion in
Prussians at Staffordshire, Smallpox in England
Jamaica, Coote
Landshut, Prussians Hayden's Symphonies and America
defeats French at
defeat Austrians at 2, 3, 4 and 5
Battle of
Liegnitz
Wandiwash in
India
John Hill makes
Eyre Coot takes
connection first
Pondicherry
Battle of Panipat connection between
from French in
gives Afghans victory tobacco and cancer,
India but it is
over Marathas, Mikhail Lomonosov
later returned,
French and Spanish discovers that Venus
John Harrison's Bridgwater Canal
1761 invade Portugal, has an atmosphere,
chronometer is Completed
Danish expedition to Sussmilch initiates
successfully
explore Arabia under study of statistics,
taken from
Castens Niebuhr sets British Assault on Morgagni's On the
London to
off Havana Causes of
Jamaica on board
Diseases introducing
HMS Deptford
pathological anatomy
1762 British Earl of Bute PM, Catherine the Great Rousseau's Social At Carron Ironworks
expedition Death of Beau Nash accedes in Russia, Contract, William in Stirlingshire cast
against Cuba seiz Truce between Falconer's The iron is converted into
es Havana from Prussia, Saxony and Shipwreck malleable iron for
Spanish, Britain Holy Roman Empire, first time
also Russo-Prussian
capturesMartiniq alliance against
ue, St. Lucia, St. Austria
Vincent, Grenad
aand Manila,
First British
settlement at
Maugerville
in New
Brunswick
Treaty of Paris
cedes territories
in Lower
Canada, Senegal,
lands up to the
Mississsippi and
India to Britain,
Spain
cedes Florida to
Britain although
Britain hands
back Cuba and
Manila, Britain Nevil
also Maskelyne's The
regains Minorca, British Mariner's
Rio de Janeiro
Colonists move Guide, Kolreuter
becomes capital of
into Ohio basin, Samuel Johnson conducts experiments
1763 George Grenville PM Brazil, Slave uprising
Fort Duquesne meets James Boswell on the fertilisation of
in Dutch colony of
becomes plants by animal
Berbice
Pittsburgh, carriers of pollen,
Pontiac Bayes' theorem is
Rebellion by first announced
Indians against
colonists, King
George's
Proclamation
agrees to prevent
American
Colonists from
crossing the
Appalachian
Mountains, War
with Mir Kasim
in India
Victory of
British at Buscar
secures British
revenue
collecting rights
in Bengal,
Amendment to
British Sugar Act
reduces duty on
molasses in an
attempt to make
Voltaire's Dictionnair
it more
Jesuits expelled from e Philosophique,
effectively James Hargreaves
France, French Death of William
1764 collected in the invents the Spinning
establish settlement Hogarth, Allan
American Jenny
on Falkland Islands Ramsay'sKing
Colonies to help
George III
defray the costs
of the Seven King George's
Years War Proclamation Line
expenditure,
Boston
merchants
initiate a policy
of non-
importation of
British goods in
response.
Stamp Act and
Quartering Act
provokes outcry
in American First public restaurant
colonies, Clive opens in France,
recalled to Horace James Watt develops
govern Bengal, Marquis of Walpole's The Castle an improved Steam
HMS Victory is Rockingham PM, of Otranto an early engine, Spallanzani
1765
launched, British Britain acquires fiscal Gothic Novel is suggests preserving
establish colony rights in Isle of Man published, Sir Joshua by means of hermetic
onFalkland Reynolds' George sealing
Islands, Mughal Clive and His Family
Emperor grants with an Indian Maid
diwani of Bengal
by Treaty of Clive of India
Allahabad
Stamp act
repealed due to
widespread Mozart returns to
opposition in 13 Salzburg after tour of
Bougainville's voyage
Colonies but new Europe including Cavendish isolates
1766 Pitt the Elder PM round the world
Declaratory Act London and Paris, Hydrogen
(1766 - 9)
re-asserts the Rouseau's Confession
rights of Britain s
over the
colonies, Mason-
Dixon line drawn
by surveyors to
denote boundary
between Pennsyl
vania and Maryla
nd, Nizam Ali of
Hyderabad cedes
Northern Circars
in Madras to
Britain, Act
creating free
ports in West
Indies
The Townshend
Acts levy
customs duties
and attempted to
assert British
rights over13
Colonies, New
York Assembly
suspended for
failing to support
quartering of
troops, Daniel Jean Jacques Joseph Priestley's The
Boone contests Rousseau settles in History and Present
King George's Burma invades Britain,Allan State of Electricity,
1767
Proclamation by Thailand Ramsay becomes Nevill
passing through court painter toKing Maskelyne'sNautical
Cumberland Gap George III Almanac
and starts using
Indian hunting
grounds,
Whalers from Charles Townshend
New England
appear in
Antarctic for first
time, Chatham's
East India Act,
Wallis reaches
Tahiti
Massachusetts A
ssembly James
dissolved for Boswell's Account of
Austria renounces
refusing to assist Corsica, Joseph
claims to Silesia,
in the collection Priestley's Essay on Pallas travels through
Duke of Grafton PM, France purchases
of taxes, British the First Principles of Russia to China in
1768 Work begins on the Corsica from Genoa,
troops land in Government, order to observe
Forth-Clyde Canal Ali Bey rules Egypt,
Boston to restore Founding of the transit of Venus
Gurkhas
order but many Royal Academy
conquer Nepal
citizens refuse to with Joshua
quarter the Reynolds as president
troops, Captain
Cook's voyage to
Australia and NZ
(1768 - 71)
Great Famine of
Bengal kills over
10 million
people, Privy
Council in
London rules
that it is legal for Russian troops
Water powered
the British occupy Moldavia and William
spinning machine
Government to enter Bucharest, Blackstone's Comme
developed, First
retain tea duty Austria occupies ntaries on the Laws
lightning conductors
in 13 Lwow and Zips of England where he
1769 on high buildings
Colonies, Virgini region of Poland, adds 'It is better that
added, Cugnot
a Assembly Birth of Napoleon, ten guilty persons
develops first steam
dissolved, James Spanish found new escape than that one
powered road
Cook arrives in settlements in innocent suffers'
carriage
Tahiti to watch California
Transit of Venus Venus Fort
before moving
on to map the
coastline of New
Zealand, Chief
Pontia murdered
James Cook
claims New
South Wales for
Britain as he
explores the
Southern
Oceans, Battle of
Golden Hill sees
open conflict
between
colonists and
British soldiers Spanish reach Easter
Hargreave's patent for
atNew Island, Battle of Edmund
spinning jenny,
York Boston Chesme sees Russian Burke's Thoughts on
1770 Lord North PM Leonhard
massacre where fleet defeating the present
Euler's Introduction
British soldiers Ottoman fleet in Discontents
to Algebra
are provoked Baltic Sea
into opening fire
on crowd, First
cargoes of
Bengal Opium
arrive in China,
James Bruce
discovers source
of Blue
Nile, Falkland
Islands War
threat as Spanish
attack British
settlement there
Arthur Young
challenges
Russia and Prussia Encyclopedia
Sir Richard contemporary
agree to partition Britannica first
War of the Arkwright produces agricultural practices,
Poland, Damascus published, William
Regulation first spinning mill in The Smeatonian Club
1771 seized by Ali Bey, Robertson's History
in North England, Assembly for engineers founded
Russia completes of America, Angelica
Carolina Rooms in Bath in London, Galvani
conquest of Crimean Kauffmann's Rinaldo
opened discovers electrical
Peninsular and Armida
nature of nervous
impulse
Cook's second
voyage to Pacific
(until 1775),
Boston
Assembly Joseph Priestley gives
demands rights rubber its name on
Lord
of colonies and discovering that it
Mansfield declares
threatens will rub out pencil
that a slave is free on
secession, Poland partitioned, marks, Daniel
1772 landing in England in
Samuel Adams Edo destroyed by fire Rutherford
the Somerset case,
forms distinguishes
Failure of Ayr Bank
Committees of Nitrogen as being a
and credit crisis
Correspondence Cook's Search for a seperate gas from
for action against Southern Continent Carbon Dioxide
Britain, Hastings
becomes
Governor of
Bengal
British East India
Regulating Act,
Tea Act passed
reducing duty on
tea shipped to Mozart's The
American Symphonies 23, 24,
colonies, Boston 25 26, 28 and 29 ,
Tea Party is Russians suppress Oliver
organised by Cossack rebellion, Goldsmith's She First Iron bridge built
settlers who Jesuits expelled from Stoops to Conquer, at Coalbrookdale,
disputed Britain's Holy Roman Empire, Phylis Baron de Morveau
1773
ability to levy Ali Bey killed, Wheatley's Poems, experiments with
taxes and by Denmark cedes Angelica chlorine as a
smygglers who Boston Tea Party Duchy of Oldenburg Kauffmann's A disinfectant
were concerned to Russia Turkish Woman,
at being undercut Hawkesworth's Voya
by the reduced ges in the Southern
levy, Daniel Hemisphere
Boone led
another
expedition into
Kentucky but
was attacked by
Indians and they
were forced to
retreat back
across the
Appalachians,
Captain Cook
crossed Antarctic
Circle in search
for a great
southern
continent
Coercive acts
passed against
Boston
andMassachusett
s, Boston
harbour is closed
until EIC is
compensated for
the lost
tea,Rhode
Island and Conne
cticut prohibit
the importation
of slaves into the
colonies,
Continental
Congress meets
Gahn isolates
for first time in On American
Manganese, Mesmer
Philadelphia, Taxation,
Louis XVI comes to uses hypnosis for
Continental Goethe's Sorrows of
Rules of Cricket the throne of France, medical purposes,
Congress agrees Young Werther, John
1774 drawn up for first Russian-Turkish War John Wilkinson
to boycott Cartwright's America
time ends, Jesuits expelled develps boring mill to
importation of n Independence, The
from Poland facilitate manufacture
British goods, Glory and Interest of
of cylinders for steam
Battle of Point Great Britain
engines
Pleasant sees
Shawnee Indians
repelled on the
Ohio River,
Captain Cook
charts New
Hebrides,
Warren Hastings
replaces Clive in
India, Quebec
Act permits
Roman Catholic
practices
in Lower
Canada, British
abandon
settlment
on Falkland
Islands
American war of
Independence
(until 1783),
Battle of
Lexington,
Second
Continental
Congress at
Philadelphia,
James Watt continues
George Samuel Johnson's A
to perfect his steam
Washington Journey into the
engine designs,
made CinC of First British banks' Western Islands of
Joseph Priestley
Continental clearing house Scotland, Edmund
1775 discovers
forces, British established in Burke's Speech on
hydrochloric and
victory at Bunker Lombard Street Conciliation with
Sulphuric Acid,
Hill, Attack on America, Sir Joshua
Pierre-Simon Girard
Quebec fails to Reynolds' Dr Johnson
invents water turbine
widen
Revolution into Battle of Bunker
Canada, James Hill
Cook returns
from his second
voyage, Start of
war with
Marathas in
western India
Declaration of
Independence
from 13
Unification of
Colonies, British
Portuguese colonies Gibbon's Decline and
abandon Boston, In his first speech
in South America Fall of the Roman
British take New before Parliament
with Rio de Janeiro Empire, Adam
York and Rhode since the Declaration
as the overall capital, Smith's Wealth of
Island, of Independence that
Potemkin builds Nations,Observations
Washington summer, King
1776 Russian Black Sea on Civil Liberty and
retreats George III
fleet, Treaty of the Justice and Policy
to Pennsylvania acknowledged that all
Copenhagen between of the War with
but attacks at was not going well
Russia and Denmark, America, Thomas
Trenton, French for Britain in the war British Entering
Jacques Necker Paine's Common
declare support with the colonies New York
becomes French Sense
for American
finance minister
colonists, Cook's
third voyage
(until 1779)
British secure Lavoister shows that
Treaty of San
Delaware, Oxygen and Nitrogen
Idelfonso defines
Lafayette's Rapid growth of Mozart's Piano are the main
1777 Spanish and
French textile industry Concertos Number 9 components of air,
Portugese borders in
volunteers begin Coulomb invents
South America
to arrive to help torsion balance
Americans,
Defeat of British
at Saratoga
France
recognises
American
Independence
and formally
joins America in
their War of
Independence,
this turns the
conflict into a
wider global
Death of Pitt the Mozart's Paris
struggle, British John Smeaton
Elder, Knight case War of the Bavarian Symphony (31),
1778 defeated at Battle experiments with
against slavery in Succession starts Death of Jean Jacques
of Monmouth, diving bell
Scotland Rousseau
British take
Savannah,
Warren Hastings
takes
Chandernagore
in Bengal, James
Cook
discovers Hawaii
which is called
Sandwich
Islands
British attack
French colonies
in Senegaland
capture Goree,
French take St.
Vincentand Gren
First 'Velocipedes'
ada, Spain joins
(early bicycles)
American war
appear in Paris,
and begins a new
Boers clash with Spallanzani proves
siege Riots against
Xhosa in South that semen required
of Gibralter, machinery, Derby
1779 Africa, Peace of for fertilisation,
British defeated established at Epsom
Teschen ends War of Samuel Crompton
at Battle of racetrack
Bavarian Succession invents a spinning
Baton Rouge by
mule, Iron Bridge
troops from
constructed at
Spain, France, Captain Cook's Coalbrookdale
Germany and Death in Hawaii
Americans, Cook
killed in Hawaii,
EIC begins war
with Mahrattas
in India
Second Mysore Anti-Catholic Gordon Tupac Amaru revolt Jeremy Steel nib fountain pen
1780
War sees EIC riots in London in Peru, Serfdom Bentham's Introductio invented, Circular
fight off abolished in Hungary n to the Principles of saw invented by
combined and Bohemia Morals and Gervinus
Maratha and Legislation
Mysore force,
Charleston
surrenders to
British, Battle of
King's Mountain
sees colonists
defeat loyalists,
Benedict
Arnold's plot to
surrender West
Point is
discovered, Henr
y
Grattan demands
Home Rule for
Ireland, Opening
of colonial trade
with Ireland,
Netherlands
joins America in
their War of
Independence
French gain
supremacy of
sealanes around
colonies, French
take Tobago,
British sack
Richmond,
Continental
Army wins at
Battle of
Cowpens, British French attack
Herschel discovers
forces surrender Channel Islands and
Uranus, Scheele
to French and land at Jersey, First Serfdom abolished in
1781 discovers
Revolutionary Building Society Austria
composition of
forces at established in
tungsten
Yorktown, Birmingham
British cease all
land operations The Death of Major
in Revolutionary Peirson
War, British
defeat Haidar Ali
in India, British
capture Dutch
settlement of
Negapatam in
Madras
Spanish
capture Minorca
and Florida but
repelled
from Gibraltar,
Admiral Rodney
defeats French
fleet between
Watt invents double
Dominica
acting rotary steam
andGuadeloupe,
engine, Montgolfier
Peace talks Marquis of
Thomas brothers construct air
opened between Rockingham PM and
1782 Jefferson's Notes on balloon, Josiah
Britain and then Earl of
Virginia Wedgwood develops
America to Shelburne PM
pyrometer for
discuss terms of
checking temperature
Independence, Defeat of the in pottery furnaces,
Treaty of Salbai Floating Batteries,
ends Mahratta Gibraltar
War but Mysore
War continues,
Legislative
Independence
granted to Irish
Parliament
Siege
of Gibraltar is
ended, Treaty of
Versailles
whereby Britain
accepts
Jouffroy d'Abbans
independence
develops paddle
of 13
wheel steamboat,
Colonies and
Montgolfier brothers
cedesFlorida bac
William Bentinck ascend in their hot air
k to Spain and
Duke of Portland PM Russian annexation Mozart's Mass in C balloon, Copper
1783 Senegal back to
and then Pitt the of Crimea Minor cylinder for calico
France but
Younger printing by Henry
retains colonies
Bell, William
in West Indies
Herschel's Motion of
and Canada,
the Solar System in
Mass migration
Space
of Loyalists to
Canada, Defeat
of Fox's India
Bills places India
nder direct state
control
Pitt's East India Methodists split from Treaty of Bengal Asiatic George Atwood
Act places EIC Church of England, Constantinople Society formed by accurately determines
under Britain recieves its formalises Russian William Jones, Death acceleration of a free
1784
governmental first bales of cotton annexation of Crimea of Samuel Johnson, falling body, Henry
control, First from America since from Turkey, Sir Joshua Cort introduces
Anglican bishop before the Serfdom abolished in Reynolds' Georgiana, puddling process for
for the colonies, Revolutionary War Denmark, Thomas Duchess of manufacture of
Commutation Jefferson's land Devonshire wrought iron,
Act reduces tea ordinance passed Andrew Meikle
duty, Foundation invents threshing
of Bengal machine, Goethe
Asiatik Society, discovers human
Peace with intermaxillary bone,
Mysore, US Bifocal spectacles
shipping denied developed, Henry
access to West Cavendish's Experim
Indian colonies ents on Air
by Order in
Council,
Creation of New
Brunswick in
Canada
Blanchard and
Jeffries cross English
Channel in a balloon,
Omani rulers reassert Salsano develops
Warren Hastings
influence in Zanzibar, seismograph for
returns to Britain
Russians settle in measuring
to face charges
Aleutian Islands in earthquakes,
of corruption as
the North Pacific, US Berthollet invents
Governor- Parliamentary William
1785 adopts the dollar as chemical bleaching,
General of India, reforms defeated Cowper's The Task
its currency, Treaty James Watt and
Bill for free trade
of Fontainebleau Matthew Boulton
between Britain
settles conflicts install a rotary
and Ireland is
between Austria and machine steam
defeated
Netherlands engine in a cotton
spinning factory at
Papplewick in
Nottinghamshire
Lord Cornwallis
is made
Governor-
General of India,
Rajah of Kedah Henry Nock invents
cedes Penang to Mont Blanc is Mozart's Mozart: Le the breech-loading
1786
British who climbed for first time nozze di Figaro musket, Coal gas
rename it Prince used to make light
of Wales' Island,
Mennonites from
Fort Cornwallis
Central Europe
settle in Canada
Sierra Austrian Netherlands Thomas
Prisons declared to be
Leone establishe declared a province Clarkson's Essay on
overcrowded and
d as a colony for of the Hapsburg the Slavery and Lavoisier's Méthode
alternative
1787 freed slaves and monarchy, France Commerce of the de nomenclature
arrangements were
those of black bankrupt, US imposes Human Species, chimique
sought to house
ancestry who had duties on importation Mozart's Don
criminals
for the British in of foreign goods, Giovanni, Angelica
the American Turkey and Russia go Kauffmann's Self
Revolution, to war, US Portrait
Warren Hastings Constitution signed
impeached,
William
Wilberforce
begins
campaigning to
end slavery in
British colonies
First convict
ships arrive at
Botany Bay,
African
Association
formed to Death of Bach, William Symington
George III's first Parliament of Paris
explore the Kant's Critique of develops working
insanity, British presents list of
interior of Practical Reason, steamboat in
1788 parliamentary motion grievances to Louis
Africa, Trial of Mozart's Three Great Scotland, James
for abolition of slave XVI, Sweden invades
Warren Hastings Symphonies - E-Flat, Hutton's New Theory
trade Finland
begins, G-Minor and Jupiter of the Earth
Formation of the
London
Committee for
the Abolition of
Slave Trade
Mutiny on HMS
Bounty as ship Guillotine developed,
was used to First steam driven
French Revolution
transport cotton factory in
begins in earnest as
breadfruit from Charles Manchester, Galvani
storming of Bastille
Pacific to Burney's History of conducts experiments
and Declaration of
1789 Caribbean to act Music, William on muscular
Rights of Man, First
as a crop to feed Blake's Songs of contraction of dead
US Congress meets in
slaves, mutineers Innocence frogs,
New York, Austrians
set up new Jussieu's Genera
take Belgrade
settlement Plantarum which
on Pitcairn HMS Bounty classified plants
Island
British alliance
with the Nizam Burke's Reflections
New Constitution for
of Hyderabad, on the French
France, Slave revolt
Third Mysore Revolution, William
in Haiti against
War, George Prime Minister of Bligh's A Narrative of
French, American
Vancouver Great Britain William the Mutiny on Board France begins using
capital moves from
1790 explores North- Pitt refuses to HMS Bounty, decimcal systems for
New York to
West coast of recognize Belgian Burns'Tam O'Shanter, weights and measures
Philadelphia before a
Americas, Crisis independence James
new site is found on
with Spain over Bruce's Travels to
the banks of the
seizure of fur Discover the Sources
Potomac
traders at Nootka of the Nile
Sound
Captain Bligh
repeats his
expedition to
Tahiti to obtain
breadfruit but
this time on
board a specially Louis XVI and family
James Boswell's The
constructed attempt to escape but
Life of Samuel
HMS are recaptured at
Johnson, Thomas London School of
Providence, Varennes, Mirabeau
1791 Paine's Rights of Veterinary Surgery
Canada Act elected President of
Man, Death of founded
formally divides French Assembly,
Mozart, Haydn
Canada Slave rebellion in
invited to Britain
into Upper Saint Domingue
Canada and Low
er Canada,
Foundation of Thomas Paine
the radical
United Irishmen
in Belfast
Peace of Jassy ends
Cotton Gin invented
war between Russia
by Eli Whitney which
and Turkey, French
increases US cotton
Republic proclaimed, Death of Sir Joshua
Commons votes production but also
France declares war Reynolds, Arthur
for gradual increases demand for
on Austria, Prussia Young's Travels in
abolition of slave Libel Act comes into slaves for the cotton
1792 and Sardinia, France, Mary
trade, Deart of force plantations,
Prussians and Wollstonecraft's Vind
Tipu and end of Illuminating gas used
Austrians stopped at ication of the Rights
Mysore War in England, Claude
Battle of Valmy, of Women
Chappe invents
Denmark becomes
mechanical
the first state to
semaphore signal
outlaw the slave trade
Captain Bligh
arrives
in Jamaica and S
t. Vincent with Louis XVI executed,
the breadfruit Committee of Public
from Tahiti, Safety established in
William
George Paris with Danton as
Godwin's Enquiry
Vancouver its head, Reign of
Concerning Political
discovers Terror begins in
Justice, Joel
Vancouver Board of Agriculture earnest, Marat
1793 Barlow's Advice to
Island as he established murdered,
the Privileged Orders,
attempts to find a Catholicism banned
William
North-West in France, Napoleon
Blake's Gates of
Passage from the takes Toulon, US
Paradise Setting off to Fight
Pacific side, proclaims neutrality,
Revolutionary First coalition against Revolutionary
France declares France formed France
war on Britain
starting a two
decade long
struggle (until
1815), Trinidad c
aptured from
Spanish, First
free settlers
arrive in New
South Wales, Sir
Alexander
Mackenzie
becomes the first
European to
cross Canada
from coast to
coast, Kermadec
Islands north-
east of New
Zealand discover
ed, Commons
refuses to
continue
abolition of slave
trade in response
to Revolutionary
and Radical
activity,
Macartney's
embassy to
China, EIC
charter renewed
Persia united under
the Kajar dynasty,
British Haitian slave
capture Martiniq rebellion coalesces
ue from French, under the leadership
Fichte's Grundlagen
Battle of Fleuris of Pierre Toussaint
der gesamten
sees French fleet l'Ouverture, Slavery
Wissenschaftslehre
defeat the British abolished in French
Habeas Corpus (Foundation of the
in the English colonies, Danton Thomas Paine's Age
1794 suspended (until Whole Theory of
Channel, British executed by of Reason
1804) Science), Erasmus
naval victory on Robespierre as Reign
Darwin's Zoonomia
Glorious First of of Terror reaches its
or the Laws of
June, Jay Treaty apogee, Robespierre
Organic Life
adjusts territory himself is executed,
and trading Rising of Polish
rights with US patriots crushed by
Russians, US Navy
created
The first seizure
of Cape
Colony from the
Dutch, Mungo
Park sets out to
Napoleon Bonaparte
discover source
invited to help defend
of Niger, Royal
the French
Navy orders that
Revolution from
lime juice rations
counter-
to be carried and
Rural depression and revolutionaries, First horse-drawn
administered to
high inflation, France overruns railorad in England,
the crew on all
Speenhamland Act Netherlands and Appert designs
voyages lasting
1795 introduced for poor captures the Dutch preserving jar for
more than five
relief where wages fleet, William V food, Joseph Bramah
weeks, House of
are supplemented by escapes to England invents Hydraulic
Lords acquits
dole and establishes the Press
Warren Hastings
Batavian Republic, The Invasion of
of 'High Crimes'
Treaty of Basel sees Martinique
whilst Governor-
Prussians withdraw
General of India,
from anti-French
Foundation of
alliance
London
Missionary
Society, War
against Maroons
in Jamaica
Napoleon invades
Wolfe Tone and Italy, Napoleon
a battered French marries Josephine de Jenner succeeds in
Fleet arrive at Beauharnais, developing a
Bantry Bay Napoleon defeats smallpox vaccine,
in Ireland, Austrians at Lodi, Lowitz prepares pure
British capture Napoleon establishes Fanny ethyl alcohol, Cuvier
1796
Elba, Spain Lombard Republic Burney's Camilla founds science of
declares war on and Cisalpine comparative zoology,
Britain, British republic, Persians Hufeland's Macrobiot
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Society
18TH Century Society
Britain was not a large nation by today's standards. In the first half of the 18th century,
the population of England and Wales was about 6 million and grew very little until the
1740s. Scotland and Ireland grew even more slowly. Scotland had about 1.25 million
in 1750, while Ireland had some 2 million residents. It was not because Britain was
large that it became such and important society in the West. Britain was still mostly
rural, although slowing becoming more urban. From 1700 to 1750, London grew from
575,000 inhabitants to 675,000, but there were few other towns larger than 10,000.

In this period, as today, social observers identified three broad categories of social
status. It was not the level of income that mattered most, but their social ranking. The
upper ranks were usually called the gentry, families whose status was assured by land
ownership, and who were largely free from laboring for their livelihood. One
profession was suited for the gentry, and that was government. High-ranking clergy,
military and civil officers were drawn from gentry and were considered gentlemen. It
was acceptable to earn money through investments as well as land, as long as you
didn't have to work.

The second rank would be "the middling sort," or "tradesmen"; people who made
money by working. Many of these might be more wealthy than many in the gentry,
but their status was lower. Clergymen and barristers filled the upper ranks of this
category, with merchants, farmers and shopkeepers making up the lower ranks.

At the bottom of society were the laboring classes, ranging from skilled artisans at the
top to vagrants at the bottom. According to estimates at the beginning of the
18th century, nearly half might be considered poor, that is not able to earn the full
amount of their subsistence and requiring some amount of charity to get by.

The Gentry

At the top of English society were the lords temporal, the peers of the realm---dukes,
marquesses, earls, viscounts and barons--of which there were about 180 in the early
century. These were men who sat in the House of Lords by hereditary right. In
addition to them there were about 40 Scottish and Irish peers living in England. The
most wealthy was the Duke of Newcastle who had an income of 32,000 pounds a
year. Along with the lords temporal, the lords spiritual also sat in the House of Lords.
These were the 2 archbishops and 24 bishops of the Church of England. Lower gentry
might earn titles for service to the crown. The highest honor would be a baronetcy,
which was a hereditary title, and below that was knighthood, which was for life. All
other gentry were titled "esquire" or simply "gentleman" by common practice.
Already by the early 18th century, these last two titles were only vaguely defined, and
were used by wealthy men outside the gentry to distinguish themselves from the
common person.

In winter, the wealthy gentry gathered in London during the sessions of Parliament,
socializing in the clubs, parks and townhouses around Westminster. The rest of the
year was spent at their country estates or at the fashionable resort at Bath, where the
mineral waters were considered restorative. The sons of the gentry typically attended
Oxford or Cambridge after being educated at home, and the younger sons were
expected to become clergy, military or public officers. Daughters were to be matched
with eligible men from the gentry, and many families hoped to raise their financial
fortunes through strategic alliances.

The Middle Classes

The middle classes were made up of civil servants (something around 15,000), lower
ranking military officers (about 10,000) merchants (about 12,000), lawyers and law
clerks (about 11,000) and lower clergy (about 10,000 of the established church and
more than 1000 dissenters), and the many thousands of freehold farmers and
shopkeepers. Small tradesmen may have been the fastest growing class in this period,
rising to more than 150,000 by the middle of the century. Clergy probably had the
most social prestige in this group, other than the wealthy merchants, but many of them
could be quite poor. A typical income was 50 pounds, which might serve as the
standard for a basic decent living. Colley describes how one wealthy merchant,
Thomas Coram, hoped to gain social recognition by charity work. Here is one way to
translate wealth into social status if one is not of the gentry.

It is wise to bear in mind that the professions of law and medicine did not have the
social status then that it enjoys today. Lawyers (like today) were often derided as
predators, while doctors (probably with good reason) were often denounced as
quacks. One of the greatest writers of the 18th century, Henry Fielding penned this
poetic attack:

Religion, law, and physic were designed

By heaven the greatest blessing of mankind;

But priests, and lawyers, and physicians made

These general goods to each a private trade,

With each they rob, with each they fill their purses,
And turn our benefits into curses.

Only later in the century did these impressions improve their image when they formed
societies and academies, and improved their professional standards. It was not until
1745 that an official distinction was made between physicians and barbers.

The Lower Classes

At the top of this category were the craftsmen who manufactured shoes, clothing,
furniture, ships, metal and other goods in workshops along with journeymen and
apprentices. In light of our discussion of the sea trade, we can not that about 55,000
people, or about 4% of the population were employed building or sailing fishing and
merchant vessels. The largest category of employment, numbering in the hundreds of
thousands, was farm labor and domestic service. The first was primarily a male
occupation, while the second female. We will discuss women's occupations in more
depth through the Colley reading.

Beneath the working class was the non-working or occasionally working paupers and
vagrants. Poverty was widespread in the 18th century, especially when harvests were
poor and food prices rose. Traditionally, the vestries, boards governing church parish,
along with the churchwardens, dispensed alms raised from the poor rates (taxes). In
larger towns, the magistrates increasingly resorted to building workhouses. There the
poor would be housed in dormitory conditions, divided by sex, with 2 or more to each
bed. Rules were strict, food minimal and work difficult. These workhouses had the
desired effect of lowering expenditures, largely because it deterred the poor from
requesting relief.

Anglicans and Dissenters

Besides the social and economic distinctions, the most important divisions in 18 th-
century society were, as they had been in the 16th, religious. With the passage of the
Toleration Act of 1689 and the lapse of the Licensing Act, which had censored
publication of anything antithetical to the church, in 1695, many "high-church"
divines and Tory gentry feared for the supremacy of the Church of England. Their
fears were worsened when after Queen Anne's death in 1714, the court and
government came under the domination of Whigs. For decades only "low-church"
Anglicans who did not support exclusionary policies were promoted to bishoprics and
other high offices in the church, which was in the power of the king and his ministers
to select. Lower clergy might be high-church, because local gentry, and often a single
landlord controlled the local "livings," and thus hired the clergy.
In the early century, there were perhaps some 350,000 dissenters, mostly Baptists,
Independents (Congregationalists), Presbyterians and Quakers. They were
concentrated in the north and east of the country and in the larger towns. Since
Elizabethan days they were commonly from the middle class merchants,
manufacturers, tradesmen or artisans. Catholics remained a small minority, around
60,000. Dissent was in decline in this period, and some at the time would say that
Anglicanism was too. In these early years of the enlightenment, many thinking people
expressed doubt about the traditions of the church, about the trinity and the authority
of the Bible. Many adopted deism, unitarianism or atheism. Anglican divines
responded in large part with a more rationalist theology that de-emphasized mysticism
and pious zeal. Almost spontaneously, a new movement--evangelicalism-- emerged
within both Dissent and Anglicanism to restore Christian enthusiasm and
commitment. This movement was to have enormous social and political
consequences.

Evangelicalism, most notably espoused by the Anglican clergymen John Wesley and
George Whitefield, came to dominate British and American spiritual life in the late
18th and early 19th centuries. In Britain it had two rather contradictory primary effects.
On the one hand evangelicalism helped to perpetuate the religious divisions of Britain.
It helped to revive the dissenting denominations, and John Wesley's organization
eventually broke from Anglicanism to form a large new body of nonconformists. On
the other hand, these various denominations came to share a common evangelicalism
which may have helped to unify Britain during the Napoleonic wars and the Industrial
Revolution. A revival of Protestantism was also a revival of British cultural identity.

As in the 17th century, however, religious vitality and division led to political
upheaval. Evangelicalism was instrumental in many new social and political
movements

In the late 18th century life the industrial revolution began to transform life in
Britain. Until then most people lived in the countryside and made their living
from farming. By the mid 19th century most people in Britain lived in towns
and made their living from mining or manufacturing industries.

From 1712 a man named Thomas Newcomen (1663-1729) made primitive


steam engines for pumping water from mines. In 1769 James Watt (1736-
1819) patented a more efficient steam engine. In 1785 his engine was
adapted to driving machinery in a cotton factory. The use of steam engines to
drive machines slowly transformed industry.

Meanwhile during the 1700s Britain built up a great overseas empire. The
North American colonies were lost after the War of Independence 1776-1783.
On the other hand after the Seven Years War 1756-1763 Britain captured
Canada and India. Britain also took Dominica, Grenada, St Vincent and
Tobago in the West Indies. In 1707 the Act of Union was passed. Scotland
was united with England and Wales. England became part of Great Britain.

Owning land was the main form of wealth in the 18th century. Political power
and influence was in the hands of rich landowners. At the top were the
nobility. Below them were a class of nearly rich landowners called the gentry.
In the early 18th century there was another class of landowners called
yeomen between the rich and the poor. However during the century this class
became less and less numerous. However other middle class people such as
merchants and professional men became richer and more numerous,
especially in the towns.

Below them were the great mass of the population, craftsmen and laborers. In
the 18th century probably half the population lived as subsistence or bare
survival level.

In the early 18th century England suffered from gin drinking. It was cheap and
it was sold everywhere as you did not need a license to sell it. Many people
ruined their health by drinking gin. Yet for many poor people drinking gin was
their only comfort. The situation improved after 1751 when a tax was imposed
on gin.

At the end of the 1700s a group of Evangelical Christians called the Clapham
Sect were formed. They campaigned for an end to slavery and cruel sports.
They were later called the Clapham Sect because so many of them lived
in Clapham.

The history of English society

Population in 18th Century Britain

At the end of the 17th century it was estimated the population of England and
Wales was about 5 1/2 million. The population of Scotland was about 1
million. The population of London was about 600,000. In the mid 18th century
the population of Britain was about 6 1/2 million. In the late 18th century it
grew rapidly and by 1801 it was over 9 million. The population of London was
almost 1 million.

During the 18th century towns in Britain grew larger. Nevertheless most towns
still had populations of less than 10,000. However in the late 18th century new
industrial towns in the Midland and the North of England mushroomed.
Meanwhile the population of London grew to nearly 1 million by the end of the
century. Other Georgian towns were much smaller. The population of
Liverpool was about 77,000 in 1800. Birmingham had about 73,000 people
and Manchester had about 70,000. Bristol had a population of about 68,000.
Sheffield was smaller with 31,000 people and Leeds had about 30,000
people. Leicester had a population of about 17,000 in 1800. In the south
Portsmouth had a population of about 32,000 in 1800 while Exeter had about
20,000 people.

Towns in 18th Century England

Many towns in England were improved in the later 18th century when bodies
of men called Paving or Improvement Commissioners were formed by Acts of
Parliament. They had powers to pave and clean the streets and sometimes to
light them with oil lamps and candles. Some also arranged collections of
rubbish. Since most of it was organic it could be sold as fertilizer.

The history of towns in England

Agriculture in 18th Century England

During the 18th century agriculture was gradually transformed by an


agricultural revolution. Until 1701 seed was sown by hand. In that year Jethro
Tull invented a seed drill, which sowed seed in straight lines. He also invented
a horse drawn hoe which hoed the land and destroyed weed between rows of
crops.

Furthermore until the 18th century most livestock was slaughtered at the
beginning of winter because farmers could not grow enough food to feed their
animals through the winter months.

Until the 18th century most land in England was divided into 3 fields. Each
year 2 fields were sown with crops while the third was left fallow (unused).
The Dutch began to grow swedes or turnips on land instead of leaving it
fallow. (The turnips restored the soil's fertility). When they were harvested the
turnips could be stored to provide food for livestock over the winter. The new
methods were popularized in England by a man named Robert 'Turnip'
Townsend (1674-1741).

Under the 3 field system, which still covered much of England, all the land
around a village or small town, was divided into 3 huge fields. Each farmer
owned some strips of land in each field. During the 18th century land was
enclosed. That means it was divided up so each farmer had all his land in one
place instead of scattered across 3 fields. Enclosure allowed farmers to use
their land more efficiently. Also in the 18th century farmers like Robert
Bakewell began scientific stock breeding (selective breeding). Farm animals
grew much larger and they gave more meat, wool and milk.

The history of farming

Food in the 18th Century

There was little change in food in the 18th century. Despite the improvements
in farming food for ordinary people remained plain and monotonous. For them
meat was a luxury. In England a poor person's food was mainly bread and
potatoes. In the 18th century drinking tea became common even among
ordinary people.

Houses in the 18th Century

In the 18th century a tiny minority of the population lived in luxury. The rich
built great country houses. A famous landscape gardener called Lancelot
Brown (1715-1783) created beautiful gardens. (He was known as 'Capability'
Brown from his habit of looking at land and saying it had 'great capabilities').
The leading architect of the 18th century was Robert Adam (1728-1792). He
created a style called neo-classical and he designed many 18th century
country houses.

In Georgian Britain the wealthy owned comfortable upholstered furniture. They


owned beautiful furniture, some of it veneered or inlaid. In the 18th century
much fine furniture was made by Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779), George
Hepplewhite (?-1786) and Thomas Sheraton (1751-1806). The famous clock
maker James Cox (1723-1800) made exquisite clocks for the rich.

However the poor had none of these things. Craftsmen and laborers lived in 2
or 3 rooms. The poorest people lived in just one room. Their furniture was
very simple and plain.

The history of furniture

Clothes in the 1700s


In the 18th century men wore knee-length trouser like garments called
breeches and stockings. They also wore waistcoats and frock coats. They
wore linen shirts. Both men and women wore wigs and for men three-
cornered hats were popular. Men wore buckled shoes.

Women wore stays (a bodice with strips of whalebone) and hooped petticoats
under their dresses. Women in the 18th century did not wear knickers.
Fashionable women carried folding fans. Fashion was very important for the
rich in the 18th century but poor people's clothes hardly changed at all.

Leisure in the 18th Century

Traditional games remained popular in the 18th century. These included


games such as chess, drafts and backgammon. They also tennis and a rough
version of football. It is believed dominoes was invented in China. It reached
Europe in the 18th century. Then in 1759 a man named John Jeffries invented
an entirely new board game called A Journey Through Europe or The Play of
Geography in which players race across a map of Europe.

Horse racing was carried on for centuries before the 18th century but at this
time it became a professional sport. The Jockey Club was formed in 1727.
The Derby began in 1780. For the well off card games and gambling were
popular. The theater was also popular. In the early 18th century most towns
did not have a purpose built theater and plays were staged in buildings like
inns. However in the late 18th century theaters were built in most towns in
England. Assembly rooms were also built in most towns. In them people
played cards and attended balls. In London pleasure gardens were created.
Moreover a kind of cricket was played long before the 18th century but at that
time it took on its modern form. The first cricket club was formed at
Hambledon in Hampshire about 1750.

Also in the 18th century rich people visited spas. They believed that bathing in
and/or drinking spa water could cure illness. Towns like Buxton, Bath and
Tunbridge prospered. At the end of the 18th century wealthy people began to
spend time at the seaside. (Again they believed that bathing in seawater was
good for your health). Seaside resorts like Brighton and Bognor boomed.

Reading was also a popular pastime in the 18th century and the first novels
were published at this time. Books were still expensive but in many towns you
could pay to join a circulating library. The first daily newspaper in England was
printed in 1702. The Times began in 1785.
Many people enjoyed cruel 'sports' like cockfighting and bull baiting. (A bull
was chained to a post and dogs were trained to attack it). Rich people liked
fox hunting. Public executions were also popular and they drew large crowds.
Boxing without gloves was also popular (although some boxers began to wear
leather gloves in the 18th century). Puppet shows like Punch and Judy also
drew the crowds. Furthermore in the late 18th century the circus became a
popular form of entertainment.

Smoking clay pipes was popular in the 18th century. So was taking snuff.
Wealthy young men would go on a 'grand tour' of Europe lasting one or two
years.

The history of games

Education in the 18th Century

In the early 18th century charity schools were founded in many towns in
England. They were sometimes called Blue Coat Schools because of the
color of the children's uniforms. Boys from well off families went to grammar
schools. Girls from well off families also went to school. However dissenters
(Protestants who did not belong to the Church of England) were not allowed to
attend most public schools. Instead they went to their own dissenting
academies.

Transport in the 18th Century

Transport was greatly improved during the 18th century. Groups of rich men
formed turnpike trusts. Acts of Parliament gave them the right to improve and
maintain certain roads. Travelers had to pay tolls to use them. The first
turnpikes were created as early as 1663 but they became far more common in
the 18th century.

Transporting goods was also made much easier by digging canals. In the
early 18th century goods were often transported by pack horse. Moving heavy
goods was very expensive. However in 1759 the Duke of Bridgewater decided
to build a canal to bring coal from his estate at Worsley to Manchester. He
employed an engineer called James Brindley. When it was completed the
Bridgewater canal halved the price of coal in Manchester. Many more canals
were dug in the late 18th century and the early 19th century. They played a
major role in the industrial revolution by making it cheaper to transport goods.
Travel in the 18th century was made dangerous by highwaymen. The most
famous is Dick Turpin (1705-1739). Originally a butcher Turpin does not
deserve his romantic reputation. In reality he was a cruel and brutal man. Like
many of his fellow highwaymen he was hanged. Smuggling was also very
common in the 18th century. It could be very profitable as import duties on
goods like rum and tobacco were very high.

A history of Transport

Medicine in the 18th Century

Knowledge of anatomy greatly improved in the 18th century. The famous 18th
century surgeon John Hunter (1728-1793) is sometimes called the Father of
Modern Surgery. He invented new procedures such as tracheotomy. Among
other advances a Scottish surgeon named James Lind discovered that fresh
fruit or lemon juice could cure or prevent scurvy. He published his findings in
1753.

A major scourge of the 18th century was smallpox. Even if it did not kill you it
could leave you scarred with pox marks. Then, in 1721 Lady Mary Wortley
Montague introduced inoculation from Turkey. You cut the patient then
introduced matter from a smallpox pustule into the wound. The patient would
(hopefully!) develop a mild case of the disease and be immune in future.
Then, in 1796 a doctor named Edward Jenner (1749-1823) realized that
milkmaids who caught cowpox were immune to smallpox. He invented
vaccination. The patient was cut then matter from a cowpox pustule was
introduced. The patient gained immunity to smallpox.

In 1700 many people believed that scrofula (a form of tubercular infection)


could be healed by a monarch's touch. (Scrofula was called the kings evil).
Queen Anne (1702-1714) was the last British monarch to touch for scrofula.
However there were still many quacks in the 18th century. Limited medical
knowledge meant many people were desperate for a cure. One of the most
common treatments, for the wealthy, was bathing in or drinking spa water,
which they believed could cure all kinds of illness.

The history of medicine

Art and Science in the 18th Century

During the 18th century England produced two great portrait painters, Thomas
Gainsborough (1727-1788) and Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792). Meanwhile
the artist William Hogarth (1697-1764) painted scenes showing the harsh side
of 18th century life. The Royal Academy of Arts was founded in 1768. In
theater the greatest actor of the 18th century was David Garrick (1717-1779).

In science Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) discovered oxygen. Henry


Cavendish (1731-1810) discovered hydrogen. He also calculated the mass
and density of the earth. William Herschel (1738-1822) discovered Uranus.
The Scottish engineer Thomas Telford (1757-1834) built roads, canals and
the Menai suspension bridge.

Technology in the 18th Century

In the late 18th century technology advanced rapidly as Britain industrialized.


From 1712 Thomas Newcomen made steam engines to pump water from
mines. Then, in 1769, James Watt patented a more efficient steam engine
and in the 1780s it was adapted to power machinery. The first industry to
become mechanized was the textile industry. In 1771 Richard Arkwright
opened a cotton-spinning mill with a machine called a water frame, which was
powered by a water mill. Then, in 1779, Samuel Crompton invented a new
cotton-spinning machine called a spinning mule. Finally in 1785 Edmund
Cartwright invented a loom that could be powered by a steam engine. As a
result of these new inventions cotton production boomed.

Iron production also grew rapidly. In 1784 a man named Henry Cort (1740-
1800) invented a much better way of making wrought iron. Until then men had
to beat red hot iron with hammers to remove impurities. In 1784 Cort invented
the puddling process. The iron was melted in an extremely hot furnace and
stirred of 'puddled' to remove impurities. The result was a vast increase in iron
production.

Religion in the 18th Century

The early 18th century was noted for its lack of religious enthusiasm and the
churches in England lacked vigor. However in the mid-18th century things
began to change. In 1739 the great evangelist George Whitefield (1714-1770)
began preaching. Also in 1739 John Wesley (1703-1791) began preaching.
He eventually created a new religious movement called the Methodists. His
brother Charles Wesley (1707-1788) was a famous hymn writer.

John Wesley traveled all over the country, often preaching in open spaces.
People jeered at his meetings and threw stones but Wesley persevered. He
never intended to form a movement separate from the Church of England.
However the Methodists did eventually break away. After 1760 Methodism
spread to Scotland.

In Wales there was a great revival in the years 1738-1742. Howell Harris
(1714-1773) was a key figure. Scotland was also swept by revival in the mid-
18th century. William McCulloch and James Robe were the leading figures.

Politics in the 18th Century:


Although the majority of the British population had no right to vote, the influence of public opinion was
extremely strong. The will of the people was expressed in many different ways. The leading political factions of
the period - the Whigs and the Tories - were endlessly bullied and ridiculed in print, for example, and like today,
reputations could rise and fall quickly according to public opinion. Most politicians were satirized mercilessly in
cartoons by leading artist like James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson, and there was a huge market for
political pamphlets, books, ballads and newspapers. Political opinion was also expressed in a more direct
manner. Rioting was a familiar feature of daily life in both towns and the countryside, and many people came to
fear the power of the ‘mob’. Crowd action was particularly strong in London, where people regularly threw
stones at the carriages of leading politicians or booed unpopular ministers. Crowds sometimes forced
householders to light their windows in celebration of political or military victories and formed massive mobs
around their political heroes. In 1780, after the government had passed legislation giving more political rights to
Catholics, thousands of people rioted for a week in London in protest. Catholics were attacked, and Catholic
property smashed up. All of London’s major prisons were burnt to the ground and the Bank of England came
under attack. King George III was forced to call in the army in order to restore order and over 200 people were
killed in the ensuing violence. The incident became known as the Gordon Riots. Riots over the rising cost of
food also occurred regularly. In 1766 rising grain prices caused rioting across the British countryside. In
Wiltshire food stores were looted and over 3,000 troops were called in to disperse the crowds. Rioting and
disturbances also frequently occurred during industrial disputes or strikes. In the 1760s, for example, hundreds
of silk weavers in London rioted over foreign competition and the unemployment caused by the use of new
weaving technology. A major question is why Britain did not experience a political revolution, such as that
which took place elsewhere in Europe. Rioting and protest against the establishment was certainly serious in
Britain in the late 1700s, but never resulted in upheaval. An answer can perhaps be found in the fact that the
relationships between different social classes were mainly stable. The working classes remained the backbone
of the industrial revolution and their rights and customs were usually recognised by those in power. By the
1790s many working-class protests were also channeled through more formal political organisations, that
proved highly effective in bringing about political change by peaceful means.

The French Revolution


The French Revolution of 1789 had serious consequences in Britain. News of events across the channel
initially caused much interest, and prompted many political radicals to agitate for Britain’s own political reforms.
For others, however, the French Revolution represented a grave political danger. It was the cause of much
concern in the British government and illustrated the potentially serious consequences of social unrest at home.
The situation in France resulted in a range of measures passed in Britian during the 1790s that were
designed to restrict political protest. This was a period of great repression in the country that has
been described as Prime Minister William Pitt’s ‘Reign of Terror’. A series of legal measures were
implemented to restrict the activities of political radicals, including the restriction of political meetings,
the banning of treasonable publications and the use of spies and informers. At the same time large
loyalist associations were formed throughout the country pledging allegiance to the crown. In 1793,
Britain - in coalition with other European states - was drawn into war with France. Over the following 22 years
Britain was in an almost constant state of war, resulting in severe strains on her national economy. A threat of
invasion by French forces in the south created a sense of panic throughout the nation and was responsible for
a wave of anti-French sentiment sweeping the country. In villages and towns up and down the country
thousands of men were called to arms, and dozens of amateur volunteer forces were formed. By the end of the
century nearly 400,000 men were in readiness for an imminent French invasion - more than twice the size of
the standing army. These impressive lines of national defence would remain in place until Napoleon’s eventual
defeat later in 1815.

Following the union with Scotland, the British government functioned according to an unwritten constitution put
in place after the Revolution of 1688. This agreement between the monarchs and Parliament provided for the
succession of Anne's German Protestant cousin, George of Hannover, and his heirs. It excluded from the
throne the Catholic descendants of James II who now lived in France and who periodically attempted to regain
the throne. Their supporters were known as Jacobites, and they rose in an unsuccessful rebellion in 1715. The
Church of England remained the official religious establishment, but most Protestants who belonged to other
churches enjoyed toleration.

The revolution also resolved the struggle for power between the monarch and Parliament, which had been an
ongoing issue under the Stuarts. Parliament emerged as the leading force in government. The Hannoverians
ruled as constitutional monarchs, limited by the laws of the land. During the 18th century, British monarchs
ruled indirectly through appointed ministers who gathered and managed supporters in Parliament. Landowners
eligible to vote elected a new House of Commons every seven years, although membership into the upper
house of Parliament, the House of Lords, remained limited to hereditary and appointed lords and high church
clergy. Parliament passed laws, controlled foreign policy, and approved the taxes that allowed the monarch to
pay the salaries of officials, the military, and the royal family.

The Hannoverian monarchs associated the Whig Party with the revolution that brought them to power and
suspected the Tory Party of Jacobitism. As a result, the Whigs dominated the governments of George I (1714-
1727) and his son, George II (1727-1760). Neither king was a forceful monarch. George I spoke no English and
was more interested in German politics that he was in British politics. George II was preoccupied with family
problems, particularly by an ongoing personal feud with his son. Although they both were concerned with
European military affairs (George II was the last British monarch to appear on a battlefield), they left British
government in the hands of their ministers, the most important of whom was Sir Robert Walpole.

Walpole led British government for almost 20 years. He spent most of his life in government, first as a member
of Parliament, then in increasingly important offices, and finally as prime minister. Walpole had skillful political
influence over a wide range of domestic and foreign policy matters. He was chiefly interested in domestic
affairs and was able to improve royal finances and the national economy. He reduced the national debt and
lowered the land tax, which had slowed investment in agriculture. He secured passage of a Molasses Act in
1733 to force British colonists to buy molasses from British planters and ensure British control of the lucrative
sugar trade. Walpole kept Britain out of war during most of his administration. A growing sentiment in
Parliament for British involvement in European conflicts forced Walpole to resign in 1742.

Walpole so firmly established the Whigs that the two-party system all but disappeared from British politics for
half a century. He created a patronage system, which he used to reward his supporters with positions in an
expanding and increasingly wealthy government. Opposition to patronage eventually grew within the Whig
Party among those who believed that ministers had acquired too much power and that politics had grown
corrupt.
In 1745 a Jacobite rebellion posed a serious threat to Whig rule. Led by Charles Edward Stuart, the grandson
of James II, the rebellion broke out in Scotland. The rebels captured Edinburgh and successfully invaded the
north of England. The rebellion crumbled after William Augustus, who was the duke of Cumberland and a son
of George II, defeated the Jacobites at Culloden Moor in Scotland in 1746.

Literature:
Publication of political literature

The expiry of the Licensing Act in 1695 halted state censorship of the press. During
the next 20 years there were to be 10 general elections. These two factors
combined to produce an enormous growth in the publication ofpolitical literature.
Senior politicians, especially Robert Harley, saw the potential importance of the
pamphleteer in wooing the support of a wavering electorate, and numberless hack
writers produced copy for the presses. Richer talents also played their part. Harley,
for instance, instigatedDaniel Defoe’s industrious work on the Review (1704–13),
which consisted, in essence, of a regular political essay defending, if often by
indirection, current governmental policy. He also secured Jonathan Swift’s polemical
skills for contributions to The Examiner (1710–11). Swift’s most ambitious
intervention in the paper war, again overseen by Harley, was The Conduct of the
Allies(1711), a devastatingly lucid argument against any further prolongation of
theWar of the Spanish Succession. Writers such as Defoe and Swift did not confine
themselves to straightforward discursive techniques in their pamphleteering but
experimented deftly with mock forms and invented personae to carry the attack
home. In doing so, both writers made sometimes mischievous use of the anonymity
that was conventional at the time. According to contemporary testimony, one of
Defoe’s anonymous works, The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters (1702), so
brilliantly sustained its impersonation of a High Church extremist, its supposed
narrator, that it was at first mistaken for the real thing. Anonymity was to be an
important creative resource for Defoe in his novels and for Swift in his prose satires.

Journalism

The avalanche of political writing whetted the contemporary appetite for reading matter
generally and, in the increasing sophistication of its ironic and fictional maneuvers, assisted
in preparing the way for the astonishing growth in popularity of narrative fiction during the
subsequent decades. It also helped fuel the other great new genre of the 18th century:
periodicaljournalism. After Defoe’s Review the great innovation in this field came with the
achievements of Richard Steele and Joseph Addison in The Tatler (1709–11) and then The
Spectator (1711–12). In a familiar, urbane style they tackled a great range of topics, from
politics to fashion, from aesthetics to the development of commerce. They aligned
themselves with those who wished to see a purification of manners after the laxity of the
Restoration and wrote extensively, with descriptive and reformative intent, about social and
family relations. Their political allegiances were Whig, and in their creation of Sir Roger de
Coverley they painted a wry portrait of the landed Tory squire as likable, possessed of good
qualities, but feckless and anachronistic. Contrariwise, they spoke admiringly of the positive
and honourable virtues bred by a healthy, and expansionist, mercantile community. Addison,
the more original of the two, was an adventurous literary critic who encouraged esteem for
the ballad through his enthusiastic account of “Chevy Chase” and hymned the pleasures of
the imagination in a series of papers deeply influential on 18th-century thought. His long,
thoughtful, and probing examen of Milton’s Paradise Lost played a major role in
establishing the poem as the great epic of English literature and as a source of religious
wisdom. The success with which Addison and Steele established the periodical essay as a
prestigious form can be judged by the fact that they were to have more than 300 imitators
before the end of the century. The awareness of their society and curiosity about the way it
was developing, which they encouraged in their eager and diverse readership, left its mark on
much subsequent writing.

Later in the century other periodical forms developed. Edward Cave invented the
idea of the “magazine,” founding the hugely successful Gentleman’s Magazine in
1731. One of its most prolific early contributors was the young Samuel Johnson.
Periodical writing was a major part of Johnson’s career, as it was for writers such as
Fielding and Goldsmith. The practice and the status of criticism were transformed in
mid-century by the Monthly Review (founded 1749) and the Critical Review (founded
1756). The latter was edited by Tobias Smollett. From this period the influence of
reviews began to shape literary output, and writers began to acknowledge their
importance.

Major political writers


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Pope

Alexander Pope contributed to The Spectator and moved for a time in Addisonian circles; but
from about 1711 onward, his more-influential friendships were with Tory intellectuals. His
early verse shows a dazzling precocity, his An Essay on Criticism (1711) combining
ambition of argument with great stylistic assurance and Windsor Forest (1713) achieving an
ingenious, late-Stuart variation on the 17th-century mode of topographical poetry. The mock-
heroic The Rape of the Lock (final version published in 1714) is an astonishing feat, marrying
a rich range of literary allusiveness and a delicately ironic commentary upon the
contemporary social world with a potent sense of suppressed energies threatening to break
through the civilized veneer. It explores with great virtuosity the powers of the heroic
couplet (a pair of five-stress rhyming lines). Much of the wit of Pope’s verse derives from its
resources of incongruity, disproportion, and antithesis. That he could also write successfully
in a more plaintive mode is shown by “Eloisa to Abelard” (1717), which, modeled on Ovid’s
heroic epistles, enacts with moving force Eloisa’s struggle to reconcile grace with nature,
virtue with passion. But the prime focus of his labours between 1713 and 1720 was his
energetically sustained and scrupulous translation of Homer’s Iliad (to be followed by
the Odyssey in the mid-1720s). His Iliad secured his reputation and made him a considerable
sum of money.

From the 1720s on, Pope’s view of the transformations wrought in Robert Walpole’s
England by economic individualism and opportunism grew increasingly embittered
and despairing. In this he was following a common Tory trend, epitomized most
trenchantly by the writings of his friend, the politician Henry St. John, 1st Viscount
Bolingbroke. Pope’s Essay on Man (1733–34) was a grand systematic attempt to
buttress the notion of a God-ordained, perfectly ordered, all-inclusive hierarchy of
created things. But his most probing and startling writing of these years comes in the
four Moral Essays (1731–35), the series of Horatian imitations, and the final four-
book version of The Dunciad (1743), in which he turns to anatomize with
outstanding imaginative resource the moral anarchy and perversion of once-
hallowed ideals he sees as typical of the commercial society in which he must
perforce live.

THE 18TH CENTURYtoc


RELATED TOPICS
 Vorticism
 John Milton
 William Shakespeare
 makar
 United Kingdom
 New Zealand literature
 Canadian literature
 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
 Australian literature
 American literature
Publication of political literature

The expiry of the Licensing Act in 1695 halted state censorship of the press. During the next
20 years there were to be 10 general elections. These two factors combined to produce an
enormous growth in the publication ofpolitical literature. Senior politicians,
especially Robert Harley, saw the potential importance of the pamphleteer in wooing the
support of a wavering electorate, and numberless hack writers produced copy for the presses.
Richer talents also played their part. Harley, for instance, instigatedDaniel Defoe’s
industrious work on the Review (1704–13), which consisted, in essence, of a regular political
essay defending, if often by indirection, current governmental policy. He also
secured Jonathan Swift’s polemical skills for contributions to The Examiner (1710–11).
Swift’s most ambitious intervention in the paper war, again overseen by Harley, was The
Conduct of the Allies(1711), a devastatingly lucid argument against any further prolongation
of theWar of the Spanish Succession. Writers such as Defoe and Swift did not confine
themselves to straightforward discursive techniques in their pamphleteering but
experimented deftly with mock forms and invented personae to carry the attack home. In
doing so, both writers made sometimes mischievous use of the anonymity that was
conventional at the time. According to contemporary testimony, one of Defoe’s anonymous
works, The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters (1702), so brilliantly sustained its
impersonation of a High Church extremist, its supposed narrator, that it was at first mistaken
for the real thing. Anonymity was to be an important creative resource for Defoe in his
novels and for Swift in his prose satires.

Journalism

The avalanche of political writing whetted the contemporary appetite for reading matter
generally and, in the increasing sophistication of its ironic and fictional maneuvers, assisted
in preparing the way for the astonishing growth in popularity of narrative fiction during the
subsequent decades. It also helped fuel the other great new genre of the 18th century:
periodicaljournalism. After Defoe’s Review the great innovation in this field came with the
achievements of Richard Steele and Joseph Addison in The Tatler (1709–11) and then The
Spectator (1711–12). In a familiar, urbane style they tackled a great range of topics, from
politics to fashion, from aesthetics to the development of commerce. They aligned
themselves with those who wished to see a purification of manners after the laxity of the
Restoration and wrote extensively, with descriptive and reformative intent, about social and
family relations. Their political allegiances were Whig, and in their creation of Sir Roger de
Coverley they painted a wry portrait of the landed Tory squire as likable, possessed of good
qualities, but feckless and anachronistic. Contrariwise, they spoke admiringly of the positive
and honourable virtues bred by a healthy, and expansionist, mercantile community. Addison,
the more original of the two, was an adventurous literary critic who encouraged esteem for
the ballad through his enthusiastic account of “Chevy Chase” and hymned the pleasures of
the imagination in a series of papers deeply influential on 18th-century thought. His long,
thoughtful, and probing examen of Milton’s Paradise Lost played a major role in
establishing the poem as the great epic of English literature and as a source of religious
wisdom. The success with which Addison and Steele established the periodical essay as a
prestigious form can be judged by the fact that they were to have more than 300 imitators
before the end of the century. The awareness of their society and curiosity about the way it
was developing, which they encouraged in their eager and diverse readership, left its mark on
much subsequent writing.

SIMILAR TOPICS
 Irish literature
 aesthetic distance
 Italian literature
 aphorism
 Japanese literature
 arabesque
 Hebrew literature
 Arabic literature
 Korean literature
 African literature

Later in the century other periodical forms developed. Edward Cave invented the idea of the
“magazine,” founding the hugely successful Gentleman’s Magazine in 1731. One of its most
prolific early contributors was the young Samuel Johnson. Periodical writing was a major
part of Johnson’s career, as it was for writers such as Fielding and Goldsmith. The practice
and the status of criticism were transformed in mid-century by the Monthly Review (founded
1749) and the Critical Review (founded 1756). The latter was edited by Tobias Smollett.
From this period the influence of reviews began to shape literary output, and writers began to
acknowledge their importance.

Major political writers


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Capability Brown at 300

IN THE NEWS / SCIENCE
How Did Lucy Die?

See All Stories keyboard_arrow_right


Pope

Alexander Pope contributed to The Spectator and moved for a time in Addisonian circles; but
from about 1711 onward, his more-influential friendships were with Tory intellectuals. His
early verse shows a dazzling precocity, his An Essay on Criticism (1711) combining
ambition of argument with great stylistic assurance and Windsor Forest (1713) achieving an
ingenious, late-Stuart variation on the 17th-century mode of topographical poetry. The mock-
heroic The Rape of the Lock (final version published in 1714) is an astonishing feat, marrying
a rich range of literary allusiveness and a delicately ironic commentary upon the
contemporary social world with a potent sense of suppressed energies threatening to break
through the civilized veneer. It explores with great virtuosity the powers of the heroic
couplet (a pair of five-stress rhyming lines). Much of the wit of Pope’s verse derives from its
resources of incongruity, disproportion, and antithesis. That he could also write successfully
in a more plaintive mode is shown by “Eloisa to Abelard” (1717), which, modeled on Ovid’s
heroic epistles, enacts with moving force Eloisa’s struggle to reconcile grace with nature,
virtue with passion. But the prime focus of his labours between 1713 and 1720 was his
energetically sustained and scrupulous translation of Homer’s Iliad (to be followed by
the Odyssey in the mid-1720s). His Iliad secured his reputation and made him a considerable
sum of money.
From the 1720s on, Pope’s view of the transformations wrought in Robert Walpole’s
England by economic individualism and opportunism grew increasingly embittered and
despairing. In this he was following a common Tory trend, epitomized most trenchantly by
the writings of his friend, the politician Henry St. John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke.
Pope’s Essay on Man (1733–34) was a grand systematic attempt to buttress the notion of a
God-ordained, perfectly ordered, all-inclusive hierarchy of created things. But his most
probing and startling writing of these years comes in the four Moral Essays (1731–35), the
series of Horatian imitations, and the final four-book version of The Dunciad (1743), in
which he turns to anatomize with outstanding imaginative resource the moral anarchy and
perversion of once-hallowed ideals he sees as typical of the commercial society in which he
must perforce live.

Thomson, Prior, and Gay

James Thomson also sided with the opposition to Walpole, but his poetry sustained
a much more optimistic vision. In The Seasons (first published as a complete entity
in 1730 but then massively revised and expanded until 1746), Thomson meditated
upon and described with fascinated precision the phenomena of nature. He brought
to the task a vast array of erudition and a delighted absorption in the discoveries of
post-Civil War science (especially Newtonian science), from whose vocabulary he
borrowed freely. The image he developed of man’s relationship to, and cultivation of,
nature provided a buoyant portrait of the achieved civilization and wealth that
ultimately derive from them and that, in his judgment, contemporary England
enjoyed. The diction of The Seasons, which is written in blank verse, has many
Miltonian echoes. In The Castle of Indolence (1748) Thomson’s model is
Spenserian, and its wryly developed allegory lauds the virtues of industriousness
and mercantile achievement.

A poet who wrote less ambitiously but with a special urbanity is Matthew Prior, a
diplomat and politician of some distinction, who essayed graver themes in Solomon
on the Vanity of the World (1718), a disquisition on the vanity of human knowledge,
but who also wrote some of the most direct and coolly elegant love poetry of the
period. Prior’s principal competitor as a writer of light verse was John Gay,
whose Trivia; or, The Art of Walking the Streets of London (1716) catalogues the
dizzying diversity of urban life through a dexterous burlesque of Virgil’s Georgics.
His Fables, particularly those in the 1738 collection, contain sharp, subtle writing,
and his work for the stage, especially in The What D’Ye Call It (1715), Three Hours
After Marriage (1717; written with John Arbuthnot and Pope), and The Beggar’s
Opera (1728), shows a sustained ability to breed original and vital effects from witty
generic cross-fertilization.
Swift:
Jonathan Swift, who also wrote verse of high quality throughout his career, like Gay
favoured octosyllabic couplets and a close mimicry of the movement of colloquial
speech. His technical virtuosity allowed him to switch assuredly from poetry of great
destructive force to the intricately textured humour ofVerses on the Death of Dr.
Swift (completed in 1732; published 1739) and to the delicate humanity of his poems
to Stella. But his prime distinction is, of course, as the greatest prose satirist in the
English language. His period as secretary to the distinguished man of letters Sir
William Temple gave him the chance to extend and consolidate his reading, and his
first major work, A Tale of a Tub (1704), deploys its author’s learning to chart the
anarchic lunacy of its supposed creator, a Grub Street hack, whose solipsistic
“modern” consciousness possesses no respect for objectivity, coherence of
argument, or inherited wisdom from Christian or Classical tradition. Techniques of
impersonation were central to Swift’s art thereafter. The Argument Against
Abolishing Christianity (1708), for instance, offers brilliant ironic annotations on the
“Church in Danger” controversy through the carefully assumed voice of a “nominal”
Christian. That similar techniques could be adapted to serve specific political goals
is demonstrated by The Drapier’s Letters (1724–25), part of a successful campaign
to prevent the imposition of a new, and debased, coinage on Ireland. Swift had
hoped for preferment in the English church, but his destiny lay in Ireland, and the
ambivalent nature of his relationship to that country and its inhabitants provoked
some of his most demanding and exhilarating writing—above all, A Modest
Proposal (1729), in which the ironic use of an invented persona achieves perhaps its
most extraordinary and mordant development. His most wide-ranging satiric work,
however, is also his most famous: Gulliver’s Travels (1726). Swift grouped himself
with Pope and Gay in hostility to the Walpole regime and the Hanoverian court, and
that preoccupation leaves its mark on this work. But Gulliver’s Travels also hunts
larger prey. At its heart is a radical critique of human nature in which subtle ironic
techniques work to part the reader from any comfortable preconceptions and
challenge him to rethink from first principles his notions of man. Its narrator, who
begins as a prideful modern man and ends as a maddened misanthrope, is also,
disturbingly, the final object of its satire.

Shaftesbury and others

More-consoling doctrine was available in the popular writings of Anthony Ashley


Cooper, 3rd earl of Shaftesbury, which were gathered in hisCharacteristics of Men,
Manners, Opinions, Times (1711). Although Shaftesbury had been tutored by Locke,
he dissented from the latter’s rejection of innate ideas and posited that man is born
with a moral sense that is closely associated with his sense of aesthetic form. The
tone of Shaftesbury’s essays is characteristically idealistic, benevolent, gently
reasonable, and unmistakably aristocratic. Yet they were more controversial than
now seems likely: such religion as is present there is Deistic, and the philosopher
seems warmer toward pagan than Christian wisdom.

His optimism was buffeted by Bernard de Mandeville, whose Fable of the


Bees (1714–29), which includes “The Grumbling Hive; or, Knaves Turn’d Honest”
(1705), takes a closer look at early capitalist society than Shaftesbury was prepared
to do. Mandeville stressed the indispensable role played by the ruthless pursuit of
self-interest in securing society’s prosperous functioning. He thus favoured an
altogether harsher view of man’s natural instincts than Shaftesbury did and used his
formidable gifts as a controversialist to oppose the various contemporary
hypocrisies, philosophical and theological, that sought to deny the truth as he saw it.
Indeed, he is less a philosopher than a satirist of the philosophies of others,
ruthlessly skewering unevidenced optimism and merely theoretical schemes of
virtue.

He was, in his turn, the target of acerbic rebukes by, among others, William
Law, John Dennis, and Francis Hutcheson. George Berkeley, who criticized both
Mandeville and Shaftesbury, set himself against what he took to be the age’s
irreligious tendencies and the obscurantist defiance by some of his philosophical
forbears of the truths of common sense. His Treatise Concerning the Principles of
Human Knowledge (1710) and Three Dialogues Between Hylas and
Philonous (1713) continued the 17th-century debates about the nature of human
perception, to which René Descartes and John Locke had contributed. The extreme
lucidity and elegance of his style contrast markedly with the more-effortful but
intensely earnest prose ofJoseph Butler’s Analogy of Religion (1736), which also
seeks to confront contemporary skepticism and ponders scrupulously the bases of
man’s knowledge of his creator.

In a series of works beginning with A Treatise of Human Nature (1739–40),David


Hume identified himself as a key spokesman for ironic skepticism and probed
uncompromisingly the human mind’s propensity to work by sequences of
association and juxtaposition rather than by reason. He uniquely merged intellectual
rigour with stylistic elegance, writing many beautifully turned essays, including the
lengthy, highly successful History of Great Britain (1754–62) and his piercingly
skeptical Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, published posthumously in
1779. Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the
Sublime and Beautiful (1757) merged psychological and aesthetic questioning by
hypothesizing that the spectator’s or reader’s delight in the sublime depended upon
a sensation of pleasurable pain. An equally bold assumption about human
psychology—in this case, that man is an ambitious, socially oriented, product-
valuing creature—lies at the heart of Adam Smith’s masterpiece of laissez-faire
economic theory, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of
Nations (1776). Smith was a friend of Hume’s, and both were, with others such as
Hutcheson, William Robertson, and Adam Ferguson, part of the Scottish
Enlightenment—a flowering of intellectual life centred in Edinburgh and Glasgow in
the second half of the 18th century.

The novel

The major novelists

Defoe

Such ambitious debates on society and human nature ran parallel with the
explorations of a literary form finding new popularity with a large audience, the
novel. Daniel Defoe came to sustained prose fiction late in a career of quite various,
often disputatious writing. The variety of interests that he had pursued in all his
occasional work (much of which is not attributed to him with any certainty) left its
mark on his more-lasting achievements. His distinction, though earned in other fields
of writing than the polemical, is constantly underpinned by the generous range of his
curiosity. Only someone of his catholic interests could have sustained, for instance,
the superb Tour Thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain (1724–27). This is a vivid
county-by-county review and celebration of the state of the nation, which combines
an antiquarian’s enthusiasm with a passion for trade and commercial progress. He
brought the same diversity of enthusiasms into play in writing his novels. The first of
these, Robinson Crusoe (1719), an immediate success at home and on the
Continent, is a unique fictional blending of the traditions of Puritan spiritual
autobiography with an insistent scrutiny of the nature of man as social creature and
an extraordinary ability to invent a sustaining modern myth. A Journal of the Plague
Year (1722) displays enticing powers of self-projection into a situation of which
Defoe can only have had experience through the narrations of others, and both Moll
Flanders (1722) and Roxana (1724) lure the reader into puzzling relationships with
narrators the degree of whose own self-awareness is repeatedly and provocatively
placed in doubt.

Richardson

The enthusiasm prompted by Defoe’s best novels demonstrated the growing


readership for innovative prose narrative. Samuel Richardson, a prosperous London
printer, was the next major author to respond to the challenge. HisPamela; or, Virtue
Rewarded (1740, with a less-happy sequel in 1741), using (like all Richardson’s
novels) the epistolary form, tells a story of an employer’s attempted seduction of a
young servant woman, her subsequent victimization, and her eventual reward in
virtuous marriage with the penitent exploiter. Its moral tone is self-consciously
rigorous and proved highly controversial. It was a publishing sensation, not only
selling in large numbers but also provoking parodies and imitations, attacks and
eulogies. As well as being popular, it was the first such work of prose fiction to
aspire to respectability, indeed moral seriousness. For contemporaries, the so-called
“rise of the novel” began here. The strength of Pamela was its exploitation of what
Richardson was to call “writing to the moment”: the capturing in the texture of her
letters the fluctuations of the heroine’s consciousness as she faces her ordeal.
Pamela herself is the writer of almost all the letters, and the technical limitations of
the epistolary form are strongly felt, though Richardson’s ingenuity works hard to
mitigate them. But Pamela’s frank speaking about the abuses of masculine and
gentry power sounds the skeptical note more radically developed in Richardson’s
masterpiece,Clarissa; or, The History of a Young Lady (1747–48), which has a just
claim to being considered the greatest of all English tragic novels. Clarissa uses
multiple narrators and develops a profoundly suggestive interplay of opposed
voices. At its centre is the taxing soul debate and eventually mortal combat between
the aggressive, brilliantly improvisatorial libertine Lovelace and the beleaguered
Clarissa, maltreated and abandoned by her family but sternly loyal to her own inner
sense of probity. The tragic consummation that grows from this involves an
astonishingly ruthless testing of the psychologicalnatures of the two leading
characters. Even in its own day, Clarissa was widely accepted as having
demonstrated the potential profundity, moral or psychological, of the novel. It was
admired and imitated throughout Europe. After such intensities, Richardson’s final
novel, The History of Sir Charles Grandison (1753–54), is perhaps inevitably a less
ambitious, cooler work, but its blending of serious moral discussion and a comic
ending ensured it an influence on his successors, especially Jane Austen.

Henry Fielding turned to novel writing after a successful period as a dramatist,


during which his most popular work had been in burlesque forms.Sir Robert
Walpole’s Licensing Act of 1737, introduced to restrict political satire on the stage,
pushed Fielding to look to other genres. He also turned to journalism, of which he
wrote a great deal, much of it political. His entry into prose fiction had something in
common with the burlesque mode of much of his drama.

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An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews (1741), a travesty of
Richardson’s Pamela, transforms the latter’s heroine into a predatory fortune hunter
who cold-bloodedly lures her booby master into matrimony. Fielding continued his
quarrel with Richardson in The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews (1742),
which also uses Pamela as a starting point but which, developing a momentum of its
own, soon outgrows any narrow parodic intent. His hostility to Richardson’s sexual
ethic notwithstanding, Fielding was happy to build, with a calm and smiling
sophistication, on the growing respect for the novel to which his antagonist had so
substantially contributed. In Joseph Andrews and The History of Tom Jones, a
Foundling(1749), Fielding openly brought to bear upon his chosen form a battery of
devices from more traditionally reputable modes (including epic poetry, painting, and
the drama). This is accompanied by a flamboyant development of authorial
presence. Fielding the narrator buttonholes the reader repeatedly, airs critical and
ethical questions for the reader’s delectation, and urbanely discusses the artifice
upon which his fiction depends. In the deeply original Tom Jones especially, this
assists in developing a distinctive atmosphere of self-confident magnanimity and
candid optimism. His fiction, however, can also cope with a darker range of
experience. The Life of Mr.Jonathan Wild the Great (1743), for instance, uses a
mock-heroic idiom to explore a derisive parallel between the criminal underworld
and England’s political elite, and Amelia (1751) probes with sombre precision
images of captivity and situations of taxing moral paradox.

SMOLLET:
Tobias Smollett had no desire to rival Fielding as a formal innovator, and today
he seems the less audacious innovator. His novels consequently tend to be
rather ragged assemblings of disparate incidents. But, although uneven in
performance, all of them include extended passages of real force and
idiosyncrasy. His freest writing is expended on grotesque portraiture in which the
human is reduced to fiercely energetic automatism. Smollett can also be a
stunning reporter of the contemporary scene, whether the subject be a naval
battle or the gathering of the decrepit at a spa. His touch is least happy when,
complying too facilely with the gathering cult of sensibility, he indulges in rote-
learned displays of emotionalism and good-heartedness. His most sustainedly
invigorating work can perhaps be found inThe Adventures of Roderick
Random (1748), The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751), and (an altogether
more interesting encounter with the dialects of sensibility) The Expedition of
Humphry Clinker (1771). The last was his onlyepistolary novel and perhaps the
outstanding use of this form for comic purposes.

Sterne:

An experiment of a radical and seminal kind is Laurence Sterne’s Tristram


Shandy (1759–67), which, drawing on a tradition of learned wit from Erasmus and
Rabelais to Burton and Swift, provides a brilliant comic critique of the progress of the
English novel to date. It was published in five separate installments over the course
of some eight years and has an open-endedness all its own. The part-by-part
publication also enabled Sterne to manipulate public responses and even to make
the reception of one volume the subject matter for satire in a later volume. The focus
of attention is shifted from the fortunes of the hero himself to the nature of his family,
environment, and heredity, and dealings within that family offer repeated images of
human unrelatedness and disconnection. Tristram, the narrator, is isolated in his
own privacy and doubts how much, if anything, he can know certainly even about
himself. Sterne is explicit about the influence of Lockean psychology on his writing,
and the book, fascinated with the fictive energies of the imagination, is filled with
characters reinventing or mythologizing the conditions of their own lives. It also
draws zestful stimulus from a concern with the limitations of language, both verbal
and visual, and teases an intricate drama out of Tristram’s imagining of, and playing
to, the reader’s likely responses. Sterne’sA Sentimental Journey Through France
and Italy (1768) similarly defies conventional expectations of what a travel book
might be. An apparently random collection of scattered experiences, it mingles
affecting vignettes with episodes in a heartier, comic mode, but coherence of
imagination is secured by the delicate insistence with which Sterne ponders how the
impulses of sentimental and erotic feeling are psychologically interdependent. It was
a powerful influence on later, less-ironic sentimental writing. In Sterne’s wake it was
common for works of fiction to include the declaration “A Sentimental Novel” on their
title pages.