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Progress of the Nation page 16


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This effects of the growth in our commerce and manufactures, and the consequent increase of the national wealth, were seen in the extension of London and other of our large towns. Eight new parishes were added to the metropolis during this period; fifty new churches were ordered' in the reign of Anne, and built in course of time; the city was rebuilt after the fire; St. Paul's raised its magnificent dome in the midst of it; the Chelsea Water Works were established in 1721; and Westminster Bridge completed in 1750. Bristol, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Frome, Dublin, &c., grew amazingly,

The Condition of the People

The review of the condition of the people through this period presents the singular spectacle of the commerce, arts, and manufactures of the country steadily progressing, and alongside of this pauperism advancing with equal strides. This pauperism included in 1688 no less than four hundred thousand persons, out of a population of seven millions; and the amount of poor-rates about a million. Before the end of this period, so much had pauperism increased, that the rates amounted to nearly three millions annually. But this pauperism apparently did not arise so much from real destitution, the want of employment, or the augmented cost of living, but rather from the poor, who were almost wholly uneducated, leaning on the poor-rates more and more as a right, and thence indulging in laziness and improvidence. Rents had not risen; a labourer's cottage was only twenty shillings a year; wheat, at the end of this period, was only forty shillings a quarter of nine bushels; barley, rye, and oats, making a large proportion of the people's food, still lo wer; butchers' meat about twopence-halfpenny per pound; and labourers' wages tenpence per day for men, and sevenpence for women; carpenters, bricklayers, &c., one shilling.

To curb this tendency to lean on the parish, workhouses were established about the commencement of this period, but with little effect. Defoo attributes much of this pauperism to drunkenness; employment, he says, was abundant. About the close of the reign of George I. gin was introduced, drew numbers from the use of more wholesome beer, and led to that frightful condition of things which we described in 1736.

Notwithstanding this excessive drunkenness, the ignorance and low moral condition of the people, the insecurity of the streets of London and other large towns, and of the highways for robbers, which Henry Fielding, in 1751, represented as rendering the roads round the metropolis impassable without the utmost hazard, the physical condition of the people was much batter than the moral one. Executions for crime were wholesale, but did not check it, for the remedy lay only in better educative culture, which was no 1 to be hoped for under the first two Georges.

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Pictures for Progress of the Nation page 16

Old House of Peers
Old House of Peers >>>>
Old East India House
Old East India House >>>>
Medal of the Seven Bishops
Medal of the Seven Bishops >>>>
William III
William III >>>>
Whitefield preaching
Whitefield preaching >>>>
Convocation house, St. Pauls
Convocation house, St. Pauls >>>>
Addisons walk at Oxford
Addisons walk at Oxford >>>>
The residence of Richardson
The residence of Richardson >>>>
Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope >>>>
St. Pauls cathedral
St. Pauls cathedral >>>>
Harpsichord
Harpsichord >>>>
Tomb of Sir Christopher Wren
Tomb of Sir Christopher Wren >>>>
St. Pauls cathedral
St. Pauls cathedral >>>>
Greenwich hospital
Greenwich hospital >>>>
William Hogarth
William Hogarth >>>>
Coins
Coins >>>>
Costumes
Costumes >>>>
Ladies
Ladies >>>>
Gentlemens
Gentlemens >>>>
London street
London street >>>>

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