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Progress of the Nation page 16

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The production of copper during this period was so plentiful, that, though the great mines in Anglesea were not yet discovered, full liberty was given to export} it, except to France. From 1736 to 1745 the mines of Cornwall alone produced about 700 tons annually, and the annual amount was constantly increasing. A manufactory of brass - the secret of which mixture was introduced from Germany, in 1649 - was established in Birmingham, in 1748; and, at the end of this period, the number of persons employed in making articles of copper and brass was, probably, not less than 50,000. The manufacture of tinned iron commenced in Wales about 1730, and in 1740 further improvements were made in this process. Similar improvements were making in the refinement of metals, in the manufacture of silver plate, called Sheffield plate. English watches acquired great reputation, but afterwards fell into considerable disrepute from the employment of inferior foreign works. Printing types, which we had before imported from Holland, were first made, in the reign of queen Anne, in this country, by Caslon, an engraver of gun-locks and barrels. In 1725 William Ged, a Scotchman, discovered the art of Stereotyping, but did not introduce ft without strong opposition from the working printers. Great strides were made in the paper manufacture. In 1690 we first made white paper, and in 1713 it is calculated that 300,000 reams of all kinds of paper were made in England. An excise duty was first laid on paper in 1711. Our best china and earthenware were still imported, and, both in style and quality, our own pottery was very inferior, for; Wedge wood had not yet introduced his wonderful improvements. Defoe introduced pantiles at his manufactory at Tilbury, before which time we imported them from Holland. The war with France compelled us to encourage the manufacture of glass; in 1697 the excise duty, imposed three years before, was repealed, but in 1746 duties were imposed on the articles used in its manufacture, and additional duties on its exportation. The manufacture of crown glass was not introduced till after this period.

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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