By H. T. Dickinson
This authoritative better half introduces readers to the advancements that result in Britain changing into an exceptional global energy, the major ecu imperial country, and, whilst, the main economically and socially complicated, politically liberal and religiously tolerant kingdom in Europe.
- Covers political, social, cultural, financial and spiritual background. Written by way of a world group of specialists.
- Examines Britain's place from the viewpoint of alternative ecu nations.
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Additional info for A Companion to Eighteenth-Century Britain
Unorthodox religious views and anti-clerical arguments ﬂourished in the eighteenth-century press. Throughout the eighteenth century most conservative clergy of the Church of England wished to return to a situation in which church and state worked together to support an authoritarian regime. Almost all of the clergy wished at least to maintain the remaining privileges of the Church of England. The leading politicians recognized the political value of the church and so an alliance of church and state was maintained, though it was never an alliance of equals but an uneasy agreement which often found some of the clergy dissatisﬁed with the church’s subordinate role.
Subjects could not lawfully oppose the commands of their rulers and could not legitimately decide for themselves who would rule them. They could never possess the right to take up arms against the crown even to protect their lives, liberties and property. The willingness of men of property to put themselves at the mercy of an absolute king can be explained only by their horror of ‘mob’ rule and their fear of social revolution. They feared the tyranny of the unrestrained multitude more than the power of an absolute king.
This increase in the tax burden was accompanied by a structural change in the tax system. Direct taxes (notably the land tax), which as late as 1700 had formed the main source of the state’s income, were eclipsed by indirect taxes, most notably by excise duties, which were levied on many everyday com- 22 eckhart hellmuth modities (for example sugar, coffee, tea, tobacco, salt, beer, hops, malt, candles, soap, wine and spirits). Towards the end of the eighteenth century (1790), indirect taxes accounted for 75 per cent of the total tax revenue, the vast majority of which was generated by the excise.
A Companion to Eighteenth-Century Britain by H. T. Dickinson