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and Letters and Jesse's George Selwyn and His Contemporaries." In these works such small details as tie-wigs and swords, journeys from country to town by coach and four, pleasure parties at Vauxhall Gardens, dinners of the Literary Club at the Turk’s Head, gossip about the shameless old Marquis of Queensberry and tears over the woes of Clarissa Harlowe often show the real temper of the age more distinctly than do the generalizations of formal history. Halfway between gossip and history come Thackeray's entertaining lectures on George the Second and George the Third in the Four Georges, and on Hogarth, Smollett, Fielding, Sterne and Goldsmith in the English Humorists. Leslie Stephen's History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century treats more particularly the intellectual side of life.? Of the regular histories, Lecky's England in the Eighteenth Century: goes over the whole ground minutely, and Green's History of the English People' focusses the same wide view into small space. All these books exhibit the first stage of the transformation from the slow, insular, unorganized country seen in the writings of Dryden and Pope, Addison, Steele and Swift, to the quickly moving, cosmopolitan, highly organized modern England.
One important element in the development was the broader diffusion of intelligence. It is true that the wits still gathered in the London coffee-houses, and, as Dr. Johnson and David Garrick had done, men still came to town to make fortunes in business and attain eminence in all professions ; but life outside London was becoming a bit less dull. Owing in part to the popularity which the Tatler and the Spectator had given to periodical literature, newspapers were springing up in all the cities and leading towns, and were carrying into every village the discussion of such topics as the social theories of Rousseau, Dr. Smollett's new novel Humphrey Clinker, and the last letter
1 London, 1843.
8 New York, 1878–90, VI, 138–300.
of Junius in the Public Advertiser. More or less complete reports of the proceedings of Parliament bore the voices of Fox, Pitt and Burke' to an audience consisting of the whole nation.
Another element on which both Green and Lecky? lay much stress was the so-called Methodist movement. Though the followers of Wesley and Whitfield were ridiculed as fanatics or snivelling hypocrites, nevertheless before the middle of the century their zeal had gone beyond the narrow limits of the sect, and was deepening the moral earnestness of all England. This fresh impulse toward cleaner thinking and living was shaming the coarseness and profligacy of the age of Anne, as revealed in the brutal pages of Swift, and was driving out the cynical corruption of Sir Robert Walpole's day, when every man had his price and even a clergyman would buy a bishopric from a king's mistress. Above all, it was steadily strengthening that interest in philanthropy now so widespread. It stirred not only individual leaders like John Howard, but Parliament and various local governing boards as well, to discuss plans for ameliorating the condition of the poor, the sick, the imprisoned and the enslaved. Indeed it had already gained for the antislavery movement such parliamentary support o that Burke's references to the “inhuman traffic”? must have quickened his hearers' attention, just as any mention of aid for the unemployed quickens ours.
The most noteworthy change of all, however, was the expansion of commerce. Burke tells how foreign trade had shot up; 8 no less remarkable had been the increase in domestic.
1 The Speech on Conciliation was issued in pamphlet soon after delivery. 2 II, 568–699. 8 See Anstey's New Bath Guide, published in 1766. 4 Thackeray's George the Second, London, 1869, 46. 5 See Parliamentary History, London, 1806–20, XVII, 639-643, 843-848. :6 Lecky, VI, 279–281. 7 See 32 22.
8 Pages 11-13.
Mines of coal, iron and tin were opening, factories and furnaces were multiplying, and canals were building which made possible a volume of internal traffic never before dreamed of. This development of business at home and abroad had affected every class in the community, but had thrust the mercantile class into special prominence ; it had bestowed on the newly rich an influence? hitherto reserved as a sort of prerogative of the aristocracy. It had enabled merchants, or those anxious to guard mercantile interests, to play a more important part in Parliament? than ever before, and in debates over taxes, treaties, war and peace, to demand decisions favorable to English industries. This it was that gave to Burke's arguments 3 for the commercial advantages of conciliation the greatest weight both with Parliament and the nation at large.
The course of events leading up to this speech is related in all English or American histories that deal with the period. *
1 See Burke's Speech on the Nabob of Arcot's Debts, Works, Boston, 1894, III, 24, 25.
2 See Parliamentary History, XVI, 133–135; XVIII, 168, 184, 219, 461. 3 See pages 11-13, 30, 31, 39, 40, 66, 67, 69–72.
4 Detailed accounts may be found in Lecky and in Bancroft, History of the United States, New York, 1888, from II, 319, to IV, 120 ; more condensed narratives in Green, Andrews's History of the United States, New York, 1894, period iii, chs. i-iv, Goldwin Smith's United States, New York, 1893, ch. ii, and Fiske's American Revolution, Boston, 1891, chs. i, ii, and the first part of iii; and yet briefer summaries in the introductions to Selby's edition of Burke's Speeches, New York, 1895, and Morley's edition in the Universal Library, London, 1892. Bancroft's relation of proceedings in Parliament must be taken with some allowance; for even when his authority seems to have been the Parliamentary History, he now and then omits qualifying clauses from speeches, and thus makes men appear more hostile to America than they actually were.
According to all authorities, though England and her colonies had not been actually hostile during the first half of the eighteenth century, nevertheless several causes were producing irritation on both sides. In the first place, the mother country, by a short-sighted effort to keep a monopoly of commerce and manufactures, had from time to time laid restrictions upon them. Such were the laws that the colonists must export and import only in English or American vessels; that they must trade only with England and her colonies; that they must not erect mills for rolling and slitting iron ; and that they must not export hats. To these vexations, which in view of the growth in colonial population and industries were by no means inconsiderable, she had, through the sheer tactlessness of her agents, added many annoyances in methods of administration. Her executive officers, from governors down, were inclined to exert their powers to the extreme and even beyond legal limits. They occasionally suspended the writ of habeas corpus, interfered with the freedom of the press, and attempted to deprive towns of representation in the legislature. The people, on their part, proud of their English blood and their English liberties, protested in town-meetings and legislative assemblies, and often treated the king's officers with scant respect, sometimes with violence. Then while the colonists waxed more and more indignant, England was inevitably led by the reports of her agents into harsher severities ; for she fully believed the Americans to be a discontented, hot-tempered, lawless crowd, sorely in need of strong government.
1 The succeeding outline is drawn from all the authorities mentioned in the preceding note, and from the Parliamentary History, Dodsley's Annual Register, Journals of the American Congress, Letters of Junius, and Adolphus's History of England from the Accession to the Decease of George the Third, London, 1840–45, but Fiske is followed most closely.
2 See 39 10, note.
The ill feeling was further inflamed by the attitude of the king himself. When George the Third came to the throne in 1760, he found his authority scarcely more than nominal ; for upon the expulsion of James the Second in 1688, the Tories had sullenly left the government to the Whigs, and the latter so distrusted royal power that they had reduced it to the narrowest limits. George, however, was determined not to be a puppet in the hands of his ministers. Dull, industrious, stubborn, he was resolved that on both sides of the Atlantic he would rule in fact as well as in name.
Unhappily for England, he met with ineffectual resistance, because his supporters were united and his enemies divided. He was firmly backed by the Tories, who had begun to emerge from retirement, and who found in him a sovereign exactly to their tastes, a believer in the divine right of kings.
He was unsteadily opposed by the disunited Whigs. Of the several factions he had less to fear from the Conservatives, or Old Whigs; for they were not only split, but they were so content with the state of things under which England and their party had thriven that they were averse to radical reforms. On the other hand, the king dreaded and hated the New Whigs under the lead of the elder Pitt ; for they were fighting with considerable unanimity and zeal for the enlargement of popular influence through more complete representation. They complained that Parliament no longer reflected public opinion, because cities like Birmingham and Leeds, which had recently become important, were without representation, while ancient boroughs which had dwindled into insignificance had seats which were openly bought and sold, or else were under the control of a few Old Whig families. With the help of the Tories headed by Lord North, George played one faction against the other. He strove to break the power of the Old Whigs by getting their “rotten boroughs" into his own hands, and he weakened the New Whigs by the use of political patronage. Thus he kept each too feeble to block him.