Главная » Статьи » Истории по истории » Лекции по истории Англии

Britain in the XVIII century

Britain in the XVIII century


1) Social and political development

2) World outlook and life-style

3) Technical inventions

4) Navigation and slave-trade

5) Science

6) Painting


1) Social and political development

For the XVIII century Britain had become «the workshop of the world» - the first industrial country in Europe and in the world.

In the beginning of the XVIII century Britain was ruled by queen Anne Stuart. She had 18 children but nobody survived. Anna had to give the throne to her relatives from a German dynasty. From 1714 till 1830 Britain was ruled by 4 Georges – all the kings had the same names. George I did not speak English and all did not want to act as a politician and he postponed all the political functions to Robert Walpole who is considered to be the first British prime minister.

In the beginning of the century the “War of the Spanish Successionbroke in Europe[1]. It was the war for the numerous colonies of Spain after the death the Spanish king Charles V, who hadn’t children. The main rivals were England and France. The English army was headed by the brilliant commander John Churchill who received the title of the Duke of Marlborough. He was the great grandfather of Winston Churchill. And he was John Churchill who led the Britain to the victory in the war. Britain got some territories in America and a monopoly on export of slaves from Africa to the Spanish colonies in America. This was an extremely cruel and extremely profitable business, which gave money for the rise of the British industry. The economic miracle of the XVIII century was based on the capitals got by the slave trade.

The important event was the loss of the North American colonies ("New England") in the end of the century. The English colonists started the war against England formed the independent state - the USA. In Asia India became the British colony. Gold, tea, species were taken from there to England. India was called “the best brilliant in the British crown”.

In the XVIII century the new type of a society, an industrial civilization, was born in England. That meant the big part of the population to leave in cities and to work in industry. England was the first country of the world, where such kind of civilization had developed. Other countries and regions imitated England. But the process of early industrial development of was very painful for England.

The Enclosures left people without ground, houses and work. The Anglican parish had to care homeless. Those who remained in their villages had to live in Workhouses. Rural businessmen could get there cheap workers, paying them poor food. Charles Dickens described the Inhabitants of Workhouses as people who were always hungry.

Those who left for cities didn’t meet better life. The working day lasted 14-16 hours and the pay was poor. Those who couldn’t find work used to steal. Usually they were executed. In the XVI century 150 kinds of crimes were punished with execution, in XVIII century - 220. The reason could have been «doing a harm to a fish in a pond» - that meant a theft of a fish from a private pond.

It was the price which England paid for position of the first industrial power of the world.


The new type of society, an industrial civilization, was born in England. The country got the name of «the workshop of the world». Anne Stuart gave the throne to a German dynasty. In 18 – 19 4 Georges ruled. After the “War of the Spanish Succession” England got a monopoly for exporting slaves from Africa to the Spanish colonies in America, which gave capitals for industry. The Enclosures made people leave villages or stay in Workhouses cared by the Anglican parishes.


2) World outlook and life-style

By the XVIII the typical English world outlook and life-style had developed.

The known children's poet and the translator of English poetry Marshak told once: «I love the English. Every third is a crank». There are certainly cranks in any country, but they are more in England.

A crank is a person, who differs in any feature of his behaviour from the others. As for English cranks they often try to demonstrate the distinctive feature of their life. They don’t force their ideas, they don’t make people follow them, but they demonstrate their life-style very insistently.

The example of the English crank was Jonas Hanway, the inventor of the canopy umbrella. In 1772 it has appeared with the invention in the streets of London. People laughed at him. Some of them threw dirt. Hanway was especially hated by the coachmen. Umbrella was a dangerous contender for them. In spite of all these Hanway used to walk with umbrella for 30 years and at last could accustom the Londoners to it.

The other specific feature of the English life-style was the attitude to children. They had to accustom to work from a very early age. It was thought to be good by the commoners if a child could earn bread from 4. If he couldn’t, it meant that his parents didn’t care about him.

Child labour in the cities with the beginning of the industrial revolution became usual. They were given to factories by their parents who couldn’t feed them. Though the majority of young workers were from 7 to 13, some children worked from 5. The working day reached 14 houres. Some children couldn’t get up to machines. The lasts (pieces of wood) were tired to their feet. Many children worked in mines. There were shafts not available for adults. Child moved on all fours, dragging behind the trolley tired to a belt. The conditions of labour caused the high death rate. The first law which limited work of children appeared only the XIX century, in 1833.

The third specific feature of the English culture was the wide spread of humour and satire, the ironic attitude to life. It was in England that the word "humour" was born. It derived from Latin humor - "liquid". Medieval doctors believed, that health of the person depends on the liquids circulating in his body. The "dry" person is an ill person, one who doesn’t have enough liquids. The person who has enough liquid is healthy one, or humorous person, damp person. In the XVIII century the word “humour” got its new meaning – something funny, which makes people healthy. By the word, “posthumous” in English means “посмертный”, so humor is equal to life.

In London a circle of satirical writers was formed. Jonathan Swift was its head. The members of the circle were the best English poet of the XVIII century Alexander Pope, the author of the “Beggas’ opera” John Gay and the other satiric writes. They named themselves «The Scriblerus Club». They invented a writer – Martin Scriblerus and published a book - Memoirs of Martin Scriblerus”. Under this name the writers were going to deride all kinds of human nonsense, lack of talent and pseudo-learning. The ideas of the circle made Swift create «Gulliver's Travel”.

The similar character as Martin Scriblerus appeared in Russian literature of the XIX century, what was his name? – Кoзьма Прутков, his authors - Alexey Tolstoj and brothers Жемчужниковы used the example “Memoirs of Martin”.


In rural area children had to earn from 4, in cities – from 10. The word "humour" in the modern sense was born in England шт 18. It derived from Latin "liquid”. In London a circle of satirical writers included Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope. They called themselves «The Scriblerus Club». The ideas of «Gulliver's Travel” and “The Beggas' Opera» appeared within it.


3) Technical inventions

England became the first country of industrial revolution – which was the transition from a manual to a mechanical production. There were several reasons led to the early industrial revolution.

1 - The capitals were got by the sale of slaves

2 - The cheap labour was got by the mass Enclosures which made people leave to cities. Workless were in such a big number that the businessmen of the XVIII could pay them a very poor salary

3 – The third reason was the spirit of experiment and invention, caused by the Royal society

It is usually told, that the beginning of the industrial revolution took place 1765. That year a weaver James Hargreaves invented the first mechanical spinning, which could substitute the man’s hands. He named it Jenny after his little daugter. Hargreaves wasn’t a spinner. He was a weaver. His wife spinned for him. But he worked quicker and used all the threads she had prepared. She wasn’t in time to supply him. The idea for the mechanical spinning came to him when his daughter overthrew the usual spinning. The weel went on revolving. This picture prompted him the construction of the mechanical spinning. That’s why he called this machine Jenny

The productivity of Jenny was increased in 16 times. It was the first machine of industrial revolution, the big number of the others followed it. But all of them were moved by human force. All these mechanisms required the engine.

The first engine of the industrial era was a steam machine. There were many attempts to elaborate an engine which could use the energy of steam. The first man who succeed in it was English smith Thomas Newcomen. In 1740 he created the steam engine for pumping waters from mines. The machine was 3 m long, and 1 machine could perform a day work equal to the work of 175 people and 70 horses. Newcomen’s machine had been used all over Europe for more than 50 years[2].

But the Newcomen’s machine had some serious disadvantages. It had a low efficiency. 50 horses were necessary at each machine to bring up fire wood. From a 1000 of logs only six made useful work. The same situation was with coal. It’s efficiency was 6%. That’s why it could have been used only near mines with coal. It couldn’t have been used at factories. The machine was not universal.

He was James Watt who improved Newcomen’s machine and presented people with the first universal engine.

Watt was born in Scotland. He had a poor health and studied little at school, but learnt a lot independently. On growing the adult, he opened the workshop at the local university. He was a university mechanic, he made instruments for explorations. Once he was asked to repair a small training model of Newcomen’s machine. Watt has carried away, and instead of repairing it he began to improve it. In 21 year, by 1784, he created the machine which was twice more effective, than the previous. Inventing the new type of steam took him so long because his creative imagination sometimes got in the way of finishing his work, he used to repeat "just one more improvement".

It could have been used not only on mines, but also in the industry. It used less fuel and had the simpler management.

One of the historians wrote about the steam engine: “This innovation gave us the modern world”. The engine was brought out of the remote coal fields into factories where engineers could improve it. It led to the revolution in transportation, the steam locomotive and steam boat were the children of the stem engine. Before the steam engine factories were dependent on falling water power and could work only near rivers and when they were not frozen. After the Watt’s invention they could work the year round and almost anywhere. Manufacturing productivity greatly improved. More things became available to more people.

The reason of Watt’s success wasn’t only his talent of mechanic. He used scientific achievements, studied the qualities of steam, used scientific devices. The steam engine was his main, but not the only achievement. He enriched techniques with some other ideas. He offered the term "horsepower". This unit of measure has been used till now. Further the British association of engineers decided to give his name to the unit of power. It was called Watt. Now we can read his name at every electric bulb. It was the first case in the history of techniques when a personal name was given to the unit of measure. Watt was also the inventor of the steam heating.

It is written on the Watt’s monument in Westminster Abbey: «Increased the power of man» Whose words were used? Of Francis Bacon, two centuries before he told that the aim of the science was to increase the power of man over nature. The authors of the Watt’s monument decided Watt to be the man who had done it.

Sometimes it is told, that the English industry were created by steam and spinning. It’s a figurative uttering, but certainly they were the major marks on a way industrial civilization.


In 1765 a weaver James Hargreaves invented the mechanical spinning “Jenny», which was the first machine of the Industrial Revolution. The first engine of the industrial era was a steam machine, designed by Newcomen. James Watt developed it for the first universal engine. Besides, he invented steam heating.

Категория: Лекции по истории Англии | Добавил: Senebty (10.02.2018)
Просмотров: 915 | Рейтинг: 0.0/0
Всего комментариев: 0