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the head of the government affairs. A great historian has observed that Pitt did a work for politics similar to that which John Wesley was, at the same time, accomplishing for religion. He believed in his countrymen, and England responded to his trust. Instead of debauching public morals by bribery, he made his passsionate appeal to patriotism.
The Expansion of England. — Under Pitt's enthusiasm and devotion, the interests of England, which before had seemingly been narrowed to insular limits, expanded before men's eyes, and about the middle of the century the nation entered upon that great duel with the rival power of France which was to raise her from an island monarchy to a world empire. In 1757 Robert Clive won a great victory at Plassey, and laid the foundation of England's supremacy in India. In 1759 Wolfe captured Quebec, and established her dominion in America. Two worlds, the rich civilization of the ancient East, and the vast and undeveloped resources of the new West, were almost at the same instant within England's grasp. “We are forced,” said Horace Walpole, “to ask every morning what victory there is, for fear of missing one.” Men's hearts were warm with a glow of patriotic pride and a sense of England's mighty destiny. Meanwhile, exploration as well as foreign war was directing the thoughts of Englishmen to distant and almost unknown lands. In 1770 Captain Cook explored the east coast of Australia, and took possession of it in the name of Great Britain. Eighteen years later the first permanent English settlement was made on the site of the present city of Sydney, and the British colonial empire was definitely extended to these far-off waters of the Pacific. The story of Cook's voyages, like those of the explorers of Elizabeth's time, brought home a
new world to the imagination, and introduced into literature a more cosmopolitan spirit and a sense of the wonder and variety of the world's life.
Industrial and Social Changes. -- While patriotism and imagination were thus quickened by the great part that England began to play in the world-wide drama of human destiny, at home a silent revolution was transforming the aspect of life and the very structure of society. From the building of the first canal by James Brindley in 1761, new facilities for transportation and new methods of manufacture followed quickly on each other, until the agricultural England of old times became the industrial England of the nineteenth century, and the “ workshop of the world.” Following hard on these changes are those problems of labor and capital which confront our modern world. The Growth of Democracy and the Age of Revolution.
And side by side with all these new things was the beginning of one of the greatest historic movements since the Renaissance, the rise of modern democracy. With the conviction of human brotherhood, with the passionate sense of the worth and dignity of individual manhood, come the blood and violence of those social upheavals which usher in our modern world. Men are possessed with a fever for the “rights of man;" they dream of a wholesale reorganization of society, and the coming of an idyllic Golden Age; they struggle to convert the gospel of a “return to Nature” advocated by the great French writer, Jean Jacques Rousseau, into a practical reality. In America, a Republic is established on the foundations of human freedom and equality; in feudal France, after generations of dumb misery, the people lift their bowed backs from labor, and, in the French Revolution, and particularly during the Reign
of Terror, wreak on their rulers the accumulated vengeance of centuries. The finest spirits of England, though horrified at the bloody excesses in France, are thrilled and exalted by this flood of enthusiasm for the cause of man; the word “liberty” sounds as a talisman in men's ears, and the spirit of revolution for a time controls and inspires many of the best productions of literature.
LITERATURE AFTER THE DEATH OF POPE
Modern England, thus beginning to take shape even during the lifetime of Pope and Walpole, had a literature of its own; but the older literary methods and ideals by no means came to an end with the beginning of the new. Accordingly, after the rise of this new literature, or from about 1725, we find the literature of England flowing, as it were, in two separate streams; the one, marked by a mode or fashion of writing which began definitely with Dryden, may be traced from Dryden on through Pope, its most perfect representative, through Samuel Johnson, until its dissipation in the time of Wordsworth; the other, springing from a different source and inspired by a different spirit, flows with gathered force and volume, and with deepening channel, almost to our own time. Many of the features which had characterized the Restoration literature in the reign of Queen Anne were prolonged far into the century, and some writers modeled their style on Pope and Addison until toward the century's close. In poetry many works continued to be written in which the didactic element prevailed, and in prose we have the ponderous work of Samuel Johnson, which continues the reign of common sense in the realm of literature.
“Johnson, to be sure, has a roughness of manner, but no man has a better heart; he has nothing of the bear but his skin.”
“There is no arguing with Johnson; for, when his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the butt-end of it.”
For forty years after the death of Pope, the greatest personal force in English literature and criticism, and the dominant power in the literary circles of London, was Dr. Samuel Johnson. Because of his commanding position he was dubbed by Smollett, “The Great Cham of Literature;' and on account of his moral essays and his English dictionary, others have called him “The Great Moralist” and “The Great Lexicographer.” To-day, however, Johnson the man is more interesting than Johnson the author. He survives for he was in what is perhaps the most famous of all biographies, the Life of Johnson, by JAMES BOSWELL. In that book he lives again, as a character in a novel, and we get to love him for his sturdy good sense and manliness, his touching and almost ingenuous piety, and even for his dominating manner and grim humor.
His Life. Samuel Johnson was born in the quiet old cathedral town of Lichfield in 1709. His father
a bookseller, who had his shop opposite St. Mary's Church. Samuel went to various schools in Lichfield, and afterward to Stourbridge in Worcestershire. As a boy he was very indolent, but he had an unusual memory and a naturally inquisitive mind. At school he got a good grounding in Latin, because, as he later said, “My master whipped me very well.