England 18th and 19th Century a - RR160F11a
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Almighty God our Heavenly Father we thank Thee that Thou hast called us to be Thy servants and Thy warriors in the age old struggle between Thy people the army of Thy son and the forces of darkness. Prepare us day by day our Father to be better soldiers in this struggle and to grant us the joy of seeing Thy victory accomplished in our day, Thy standard advanced, Thy cause established in the hearts of the generations to come. Bless us as we study the things of this world in the perspective of Thy word and grant that we be drawn closer to Thee and become more faithful servants and be the means of this knowledge. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Last week we analyzed the centrality in the 17th century and in the 18th century of France, especially the greatness of France under Louis XIV and his successors. We saw also something of the significance of the Enlightenment and its thinking as it lay the groundwork for a new world perspective. Reviving the motifs that had been so powerful in the Renaissance, carrying them forward and making them more vocal. We saw for example that the man of the enlightenment was an urban man, divorced from the soil, seeing things without the coolness of context that a rural perspective could have given him. We saw also that the total hatred of Christianity was openly stated by these men. Moreover they were militantly humanist, they were bent on tolerating any human practice other than the worship of God in Christ. They felt that the new priests of civilization should be the humanists, the philosophes. They took over the churches and began their dismantling and destruction; moreover homosexuality was a mark of being a member of the in group with these people. They had made we saw furthermore as their great cultural hero Cicero. As I pointed out Cicero is again a hero in many quarters. They despised science and business as puritan and Huguenot characteristics. [00:03:17]
And they felt that they had been given by destiny the...
And they felt that they had been given by destiny the duty to rule over the common people who were too stupid to be able to rule themselves and needed an elite group like themselves. Now this movement of course was common to all of Europe. In some respects it originated as I indicated in Britain, England in particular. It would be easy in dealing with the history of England from the early part of the 16th century into the 20th century to make England the villain of the peace. It would be just as easy and in fact easier to make England the center of the stage for the whole period. And I think this tells us why in some respects some of the most incredible aspects of western history in that era took place in England. After all that was where the action was. And where the center of the stage is you’ll see there also the greatest concentration of evil. That’s where the action is, that’s where the issues are going to be freshed out. And so in England you had some tremendous forces at work. The Puritan regime was put down when in 1660 Charles II came to the throne not too long after the death of Cromwell. With Charles II the emphasis was on anything and everything goes except the old faith and morality. One of his own friends remarked of him that he had never said a foolish thing nor never done a wise one. He prided himself on being a wit, he was during the whole time of his rule and this is a matter of record now in the pay of Louis XIV. He was a secret Catholic. [00:06:00]
He worked against the interests of his own kingdom...
He worked against the interests of his own kingdom to further the cause of Louis XIV and it was only that parliament again and again over ruled him that England was not made a virtual tool of Louis XIV. Charles II at least had the common sense not to go too far, this was not true of his brother and successor James II who lacked common sense who began the bloody persecution of the protestants in Scotland in particular and then also in England and therefore lost his kingdom in the glorious revolution of 1688. William and Mary were called to the throne. After William and Mary there was a long era of weak monarchs and this of course was made to order for the aristocracy. They took over the kingdom from 1688 on they wanted neither the people nor the church to be a problem to them. Some years ago I made a lengthy study of the Church of England from its very beginning through the thirties, someday I want to do some revision on the work and publish it. There was a period there when for seventy years no convocation of the Church of England was called, they did not want a Church coming together to decide anything. They had only political bishops, men who rarely even saw their seats. The aristocracy wanted to rule and rule they did under Queen Anne then she dying childless it went to the house of Hanover of Germany and the Hanoverian monarchs took the throne of England but they spent as much of their time in Germany at Hanover as possible. George I didn’t even bother to speak English, to learn it. George II knew it but not any too well. Their contempt for England was very open, they were not interested in it, they allowed the aristocracy to rule and it was not until the grandson of George II, George III came to the throne, that you had for a long, long period of almost seventy five years or so a truly popular monarch. [00:09:22]
George III was a very simple family man, he tried very...
George III was a very simple family man, he tried very earnestly to cultivate the middle class virtues, in that respect he did recognize the old Puritan backbone of the country, the common people loved him the aristocracy despised him and thought he was a staid prosaic fool and his wife a frump. The tragedy of course of King George III was that the family did have a great deal of inbreeding and as a result of this inbreeding a particular ailment worked quite a havoc on him. Very few people realize that he was not only a monarch for sixty years, that’s a long reign, but off and on and increasingly towards the last totally insane. Later on I’ll show you a picture of him, quite tragic, you would think to see the picture that it was one of old King Leer and his grief. But Napoleon rose to power and the Napoleonic Wars took place and then Napoleon disappeared and the king of England never knew what was going on. He was out of his mind. The aristocracy ruled. And the general position of the aristocracy was an elitism of course but moreover deism, a polite term really for unbelief. The deists technically had a god, somebody had to start the whole thing and then he was an absentee God who had nothing more to do with the universe. Therefore there was nothing that mattered, no god, no morality, man was making his own way in the world. The deists were very cynical about the bible and Christianity and as a result their contempt began to filter down. They wrote their books, they expressed their opinions but they felt that this is for the elite, for example, Anthony [unknown] who wrote Priest Craft and Perfection another book discourses on free thinking was once asked why in view of his contempt for Christianity he would insist on sending his servants to Church and his answer was that they may neither rob nor murder me. [00:12:16]
Voltaire gave a similar answer...
Voltaire gave a similar answer. But when you have a thinking people holding such opinions and when they have captured the church and virtually gutted it what are the people going to get when they go to church? The consequence was that within a generation the people were like unbelievers without faith, without morality. The figures on the consumption of liquor in the early part of the 18th century and the early 1700s in England are staggering. They are really almost beyond belief. In some streets of London every fourth or fifth house was a bar. I’ll show you later on a picture Hogarth painted from life and over one basement bar room the sign reads ‘drunk for one penny, dead drunk for two pennies, three straw’. Three straw to sleep it off on. We do have evidence from various writers of the day that other places which were of a little better quality would advertise clean straw. We know for example from Walter Wellford’s own account, and he thought nothing of it, this was routine, that when he was a small boy he was regularly made drunk by his father and he himself records that his father would say, come Robert you shall drink twice while I drink once for I will not permit the son in his sober senses to be a witness of the intoxication of his father. Now the consequence of all this was a decline of the will to live. A decline of the will to live. The mortality of people was frightening, people died like flies. You can say it was poor medicine but it was poor medicine fifty and a hundred years later, not any different, no improvement and people did not die the same way. [00:14:57]
And at the same time in America the mortality rate...
And at the same time in America the mortality rate was nowhere near the same. The mortality rate also was very high for children, somehow this loss of the will to live communicated itself almost you might think with the mother’s milk to the children and there wasn’t the same care. I’m going to read some of the London bill of mortality figures for the era because they are so startling. In 1730-1749, these are twenty year periods, 74.5 percent of all children died, that’s three out of four. Then at the end of that period the evangelical revival began, Whitfield and Wesley and various evangelicals within the Church of England. In 1750-69 the next twenty years, when this movement was beginning, the mortality was sixty three percent, it dropped eleven and a half points. In the next twenty years 1770-89 51.5 percent, then 1790-1809 41.3 and 1810-29 31.8 percent mortality. Now of course from our modern point of view that’s a high rate but the significant fact is that without any real medical progress in those years the evangelical reawakening and its growing impact on the population made for this much difference in the mortality. It was a time of considerable brutality in sports, and immorality in fact is called a sport of the period. I’d like to read something from the work of Dr. [unknown], just a page or two, I could select much more frightful passages but just to give you something of the picture and I quote: [00:17:27]
Even immorality under the cloak of the nature worship...
Even immorality under the cloak of the nature worship and natural expression propounded by deism was during most decades of the century largely winked at as sport. George II, the Prince of Wales were but representatives of a large section of high society who lived in flagrant shameless adultery. Montague on October 1723 writing to the Countess of [unknown] declared that in society the application of rake is as gentile in a woman as in a man of quality. The [unknown] district of west London was extensive [unknown] and such terms as [unknown], virgin and new gate saint were ironical designations of different classes of prostitutes. The court masquerades however which continued to the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 and the moral and religious feelings of the country preferred their suppression were scandalously sensual. While the popular subscription receptions and masquerades were copiously tarred with the same brush. Champagne, dice, music, or your neighbors spouse were among the contending attractions [that’s a literal quote, that expression] of the midnight orgy and the dance.
[unknown] writing to Mann May 3rd 1749 concerning a subscription masquerade where George II was present said that [unknown] a popular maid of honor masquerading as of [unknown] was so naked that you would have taken her for Andromeda who rose naked out of the sea. And based on [unknown] the masquerades of the time describes them as scenes of dissipation. Yet as late as February 1770 the House of Commons adjured to attend a subscription masquerade held in [unknown]. Among the illiterate and outcast multitude to such a pitch of barbarity did sensuality rise but frequently it was seen on parade. Every new parliament, for example, the [unknown], a settlement of straggling villages near [unknown] held a mock election and the qualification of a voter was that he had enjoyed a woman in the open air in that district. The occasion of obscene humor and bawdry horseplay drew swarming crowds of debutantes from London and so much custom resulted from the local public that they found it to their interest to contribute largely to the expense of the ceremony. So utterly depraved were some rural areas that laborers actually sold their wives by auction in the cattle market and baptism registers show how rampant was immorality in the villages. [00:20:18]
Moreover because the Lords were ruling with a radical...
Moreover because the Lords were ruling with a radical hatred of the middle class the productive, the merchant class, they were of course not contributing anything to the development of society and to the progress of that particular element that could create work, the producing element, the middle class merchants. The result was that their answer to the situation where so many of the lower classes were desperately poor, had to rob to eat, was to pass more and more severe laws. This is a fact that is familiar to most people, how people were hung for next to nothing to those days. There were a hundred and sixty offenses for which you could be hung, they were things like to pick a pocket for more than shilling. To grab food and run, to grab goods and run, shoplifting, five shillings of value, to steal fruit, to snare a rabbit as a poacher on a man’s estate and so on. Charles Wesley on one occasion preached in the jail to fifty two persons waiting hanging, one of whom was a child of ten. The ruling class at this time was made up of men of the worst caliber, lords and aristocrats, who organized an organization, a secret society and club called The Hellfire Club. It was an organization given to the systematic destruction of every kind of moral standard, practiced deliberately, including incest. The Hell Fire Club was bitterly hostile to the colonies, to America and to William Pitt, the great English statesman who was the champion of America. [00:23:00]
One of the members of The Hellfire Club, John Wilkes...
One of the members of The Hellfire Club, John Wilkes, supported America and many American communities and a county or two was named after him, but we have the right to question his integrity in this support because he was urging them not to fight, he was telling the American colonies I’m with you, just leave to me and I can handle the king and the king’s friends. Now spell king’s friends with capital letters, who were the King’s Friends? They were the ruling clique, The Hellfire Club. Thus this Hellfire Club and their associates were very much like the philosophes of France. But all the while that this was going on there was another force building up from the ground up: the evangelical movement. Both in and out of the Church of England under Whitefield, under Wesley and Fletcher and the Church of England and many, many others. Its impact was tremendous. It began to revive a great deal of the old puritan spirit. There are many who criticize it savagely, many historians, they point out what killjoys they were and how much against many things that the people loved they were and what strict Sabitarians they were. Well they were all those things perhaps and yet one of the things that led to trouble very early was their insistence on closing everything down on the Sabbath. And you can go to some of these historians and find perfectly horrible accounts of how repressive these evangelicals were, but they do not give you the other side of it. It was the practice of people in those days to pay off workers and servants on Sunday when the only things that were open were the bars; moreover, they would make an appointment in a bar to pay them off. You can imagine the consequences of that especially if the Lord or gentleman paying them off set up a drink to start things off for everybody, they are going to spend all the money there which is what most of them did. And this is why the evangelicals both struck hard at Sabbath laws and anti-liquor legislation. This led ultimately to the prohibition movement throughout the world which was a misguided movement but very few people now realize that the prohibition movement was also a movement very closely connected with Marxism and with various socialist movements. [00:26:05]
Right through the twenties the Soviet Union was very...
Right through the twenties the Soviet Union was very strongly prohibitionist, why? Because for a couple of centuries liquor and bars had meant the deliberate exploitation of the workers very often by people who owned the bars and made sure the workman spent his money there and was forever in debt to them, borrowing money from them. So you can understand something of the picture that faced the evangelicals, so they hit at these two points. They have may have been misguided in their extremes sometimes but basically they were dealing with a very real problem. The evangelical movement thus began to work from the ground up and it began to make a tremendous impact on the country as it progressively reached more and more of the people. Meanwhile a book had been written in 1776 that also had an impact, Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, a classic statement of free enterprise economics. As a result by 1838 to 41 a free trade movement was underway in England in strength. Sir Robert Peel when he became Prime Minister in 1841 through 1846 favored it and he reduced the tariffs drastically in 1842 with an immediate increase of prosperity. Peel was very savagely attacked for this again and again in Parliament for the Lords. He was also attacked by one of the most brilliant men who ever in Parliament in England: Benjamin Disraeli. Disraeli was very much a champion of the lords and of the aristocrats. Disraeli was a man who was to the core a champion of the empire, of tradition, of the high church establishment, not necessarily because of any faith, and of the crown. And he was militantly against Sir Robert Peel. Peel however was able to prove that every time the tariffs were decreased there was an increase of business and employment. [00:29:00]
He went to parliament with the cold hard facts and...
He went to parliament with the cold hard facts and he said true enough, when we lower the tariff it’s going to hurt someone in a particular industry, in a particular line of work or of agriculture but it is going to help the consumers who are everybody and it will ultimately help the nation as a whole. It will eliminate the businesses that need to be eliminated and it will give new opportunity as foreigners selling their goods to us have pounds sterling to buy our goods. He made his case. He was in spite of the fact that Disraeli could make him look like a monkey because Disraeli was one of the most brilliant debaters Parliament has ever known, a man of tremendous wit and intelligence, who could have your own friends laughing at you, in spite of that Sir Robert Peel went there repeatedly with the hard cold facts. Employment increased and business increased every time the tariffs were lowered and to the degree they were lowered to that degree there was an improvement. The lords however fought back bitterly, the aristocracy. And one of the things they did was to launch a series of investigations of conditions in industry. Now you hear a great deal of horrible accounts of how terrible things were in the mines and in the factories in England with the Industrial Revolution. These reports are in a sense true but in a much more important sense they are a fraud, a total fraud. The lords produced them and the man who was the greatest in his use of them was Karl Marx. And it’s interesting that the lords and Marx and the socialists together united against the manufacturers, the merchants. Now let me illustrate why these accounts were a fraud, first of all: [00:31:40]
Let us assume that we are an investigating committee...
Let us assume that we are an investigating committee investigating Aerospace in Los Angeles. Now, we are out to do them in, we hate them with a passion, so what do we do, we go into a plant and we look for every instance of dirt. Here is a supervisor in a department who is seducing as many of the girls as he can and in fact telling them if you want this job or if you want a promotion you come across. You get the picture. There isn’t any kind of sizable industry or business operating where you cannot go in and find enough dirt if that’s what you’re interested in. In fact if you want to find fault with any one of us in this room because none of us are perfect. But that isn’t a true picture, you see. Now there were instances of mines that were terrible, some frightening reports of girls of nine and ten crawling through a shaft on hands and knees, the shaft no more than this, dragging a cart of coal, true. There were mines like that but that isn’t the whole picture you see. If you are looking for the worst examples you can always find them. If you want to prove that every mechanic is a bum, a cheat, you can go through Los Angeles and find enough mechanics who to change a spark plug will bill you for anything they figure that they can make you a sucker for to say that mechanics are a fraud. You can prove that the clergy are all fraud which may not be too far off [laughter]. You can make a case for almost anything, you see. And this is exactly what those investigations were intended to do. A few years ago a group of scholars from America, from South Africa and from England did a reexamination of these reports that were issued at that time and they conclusively demonstrated that they were not representative of reality. [00:34:25]
Now, every text book was carrying those horror stories...
Now, every text book was carrying those horror stories before that book came out in the fifties; they are still carrying the horror stories because they are not interested in a good case for capitalism. However, as a result of this type of thing, the free trade movement, plus the evangelical impulse, within ten years after they cut the tariffs they had abolished welfare. That’s the impact, now a lot of people lost money in the process. But the country as a whole gained and it embarked England on its greatest period of power and prosperity, the Victorian Era. The Victorian Era was an evangelical triumph. Ironically Victoria herself belonged to the opposition, she was not a religious woman, she was very happy when Darwin’s book came out because now she wouldn’t have to believe a lot of those things in the Old Testament, she thought very highly of Disraeli and basically her entire sympathy was with the aristocracy and the lords. The important person in the palace then was the Prince Consort Albert, a very brilliant man, something of a genius, who organized the great exhibition of 1851 which was pure and simple a kind of a world’s fair to try and to demonstrate the importance of British industry. It was a tremendous success. Prince Albert saw where the leadership was, the leadership of the future, it was in the merchants and the business men, the manufacturers and he strongly favored them. The work of Prince Albert in the history of Britain is a very, very important one. He was a great man and he accomplished a great work. I indicated how unhappy the work of the lords was but I should make an exemption or two because there were some lords who were very great evangelicals, Lords Shaftesbury for example, this book Lord Shaftesbury and Social Industrial Progress tells us how much Lord Shaftesbury accomplished in a number of areas. [00:37:31]
For example: the treatment of lunatics, the lodging house scandal. The health sanitation and recreation efforts, popular education, the ragged schools, the ten hour bill, anti-slavery and a great many other things including the opium traffic. Lord Shaftesbury is an evangelical among the lords together with a handful of others in the House of Lords were very influential in furthering the evangelical revival and getting through a different perspective, a free enterprise perspective, through parliament. The Industrial Revolution of course took place in Britain. It was the center of it. It was the center because it was the country with the Puritan background. It had also gained because of the revocation of Nantes, the Edict of Nantes, many Huguenots as did America and the Netherlands. And these men were the middle classes, the entrepreneurs of France. So to have the cream of two countries, these were the men of science, these were the inventors, these were the manufacturers. The inventions of the Industrial Revolution produced were many, the flying shuttle, the flying jenny, the water loom, the pottery and iron industries, canals were built and canal transportation, James Wotton, the steam engine, the factory system, then the railroads, the growth of the merchant marine because of free trade, and England became the civilizer of the western world and of the far colonies throughout all the world. The lords were hostile to all of this. There was a long tradition by the way; the kind of thing I am describing began before the Renaissance in the years before. Do you know that when movable type was first invented and the printing press appeared it was fought by the lords of the day? And they considered it a mark of being lower class to own a printed book. So it was many, many years before a lord would consider a printed book as worth buying and wouldn’t sneer and deride anyone who owned a printed book. [00:40:23]
The people who put over printing were the students...
The people who put over printing were the students; this was the chance to get books cheaply. Britain through free trade became a great exporter to all the world but she was an exporter of more than goods. When you consider the empire that Britain had up until World War Two, an empire going back to the eighteenth century, what you must realize is that Britain exported throughout all the world into its empire education. Stack up the colonies of any other country as against those of Britain and you find that the British colonies had an amazingly high number of university graduates. And these men got their education at the expense of the British people. Britain was an exporter of science, science was introduced into one country after another and financed so that scientific institutes and agencies were established throughout Asia and Africa and the Pacific, everywhere. She was a great exporter of health, of medicine, of hospitals, of roads, highways, everything. When people talk about colonialism as though the colonies were milked they are talking nonsense especially in the case of Britain because Britain paid for it and the returns were meager by comparison. The horrors of colonialism applied to one situation in particular, the Congo when it was under Leopold of Belgium, not under Belgium, but Leopold owned it outright for a time and it was an era of tremendous and brutal treatment of the natives. Incidentally up until Congo received its freedom it had almost no university graduates whereas other parts of Africa did have many and the British so many that the figures are really staggering. [00:43:12]
Also Britain was an exporter of law and order...
Also Britain was an exporter of law and order. The only law that vast portions of Africa and Asia had came with the advent of the British colonial government. Consider for a moment, do you realize that there were only about six thousand Englishmen in all of India before they left? Before they turned it over to the Indians and the Pakistanis? Only six thousand? And they were running that country? Very efficiently, better than it’s been run since? That’s good administration and it certainly is not exploitation. Six thousand Englishmen: that was the colonial administration. The rest of the administration, the army officers and all were the people of India and this is the way it was throughout the empire. A handful of men then utilizing native resources and developing them, systematically conscientiously with the utmost concern for the welfare of the people they were ruling. It was one of the great achievements of civilization. On top of that it made possible the extensive propagation of Christianity because you had an orderly situation throughout the empire whereby it was possible for missions to function.