An Eighteenth-Century Survey

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An Eighteenth-Century Survey

If we try first to get a bird's-eye view of the state of Great Britain around 1750, in order to see what forces were making towards change, we shall realize how true this is.

It is impossible, unfortunately, to make a survey as full or as accurate as could be carried out nowadays.

There were no Government statistics to speak of then, and what there were very approximate; there were no nationally organized social services as there are now, so there was no way of keeping in close touch with' movements in employment or wages or the national health.

One has to go by the reports of contemporary witnesses, by evidence before Parliamentary commissions, and the recorded facts concerning individual industries, together with what the passage of time has shown to be important in the political events of the period.

For then, as at all other times, political and economic events were closely tangled together.

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LATE in the eighteenth century, as one writer on historical topics has put it, "the river of civilization reached a series of rapids ".

The changes which historians know as the Industrial Revolution happened far faster than any similar changes had ever done before, and altered the face of the country more in a hundred years than anything else in the thousand years preceding them.

But we must not imagine that they occurred without any sort of preparation, that the world had never seen anything in the least like them before, and that they simply arrived and turned a peaceable... see: THE EVE OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

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