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Scotland also suffered from the efforts of the Stuarts to win back the throne. The first "Jacobite" revolt to win the crown for James II's son, in 1715, had been unsuccessful. The Stuarts tried again in 1745, when James IIís grandson, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, better known as "Bonny Prince Charlie", landed on the west coast of Scotland. He persuaded some clan chiefs to join him. Many of these chiefs had great difficulty persuading the men in their clans to join the revolt. Some were told their homes would be burnt if they did not fight. Most clans did not join the rebellion, and nor did the men of the Scottish Lowlands.

Bonny Prince Charlie was more successful at first than anyone could have imagined. His army of Highlanders entered Edinburgh and defeated an English army in a surprise attack. Then he marched south. Panic spread through England, because much of the British army was in Europe fighting the French. But success for Bonny Prince Charlie depended on Englishmen also joining his army. When the Highland army was over halfway to London, however, it was clear that few of the English would join him, and the Highlanders themselves were unhappy at being so far from home. The rebels moved back to Scotland. Early in 1746 they were defeated by the British army at Culloden, near Inverness. The rebellion was finished.

The English army behaved with cruelty. Many Highlanders were killed, even those who had not joined the rebellion. Others were sent to work in America. Their homes were destroyed, and their farm animals killed. The fear of the Highland danger was so great that a law was passed forbidding Highlanders to wear their traditional skirt, the kilt. The old patterns of the kilt, called tartans, and the Scottish musical instrument, the bagpipe, were also forbidden. Some did not obey this law, and were shot.


Lecture Seventeen. Life in town and country.

Town life. The rich. The countryside. Family life.


Town life

In 1700 England and Wales had a population of about 5.5 million. This had increased very little by 1750, but then grew quickly to about 8.8 million by the end of the century. Including Ireland and Scotland, the total population was about 13 million.

In 1700 England was still a land of small villages. In the northern areas of England, in Lancashire and West Yorkshire, and in the West Midlands, the large cities of the future were only just beginning to grow. By the middle of the century Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield and Leeds were already large. But such new towns were still treated as villages and so had no representation in Parliament.

All the towns smelled bad. There were no drains. Streets were used as lavatories and the dirt was seldom removed. In fact people added to it, leaving in the streets the rubbish from the marketplace and from houses. The streets were muddy and narrow, some only two metres wide. Around London and other larger towns a few vegetable growers took the dirt from the streets to put on their fields.

The towns were centres of disease. As a result only one child in four in London lived to become an adult. It was the poor who died youngest. They were buried together in large holes dug in the ground. These were not covered with earth until they were full. It was hardly surprising that poor people found comfort in drinking alcohol and in trying to win money from card games. Quakers, shocked by the terrible effects of gin drinking, developed the beer industry in order to replace gin with a less damaging drink.

During the eighteenth century, efforts were made to make towns healthier. Streets were built wider, so that carriages drawn by horses could pass each other. From 1734, London had a street lighting system. After 1760 many towns asked Parliament to allow them to tax their citizens in order to provide social services, such as street cleaning and lighting. Each house owner had to pay a local tax, the amount or "rate" of which was decided by the local council or corporation.

Catholics and Jews were still not allowed into Parliament, and for Nonconformists it continued to be difficult, but they were all able to belong to the town councils that were now being set up. As these "local authorities" grew, they brought together the merchants and industrial leaders. These started to create a new administrative class to carry out the council's will. Soon London and the other towns were so clean and tidy that they became the wonder of Europe. Indeed London had so much to offer that the great literary figure of the day, Samuel Johnson, made the now famous remark, "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. For there is in London all that life can afford."

There were four main classes of people in eighteenth-century towns: the wealthy merchants; the ordinary merchants and traders; the skilled craftsmen; and the large number of workers who had no skill and who could not be sure of finding work from one day to another.


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 1674

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