Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England

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A Six Weeks’ Tour through the Southern Counties, pp. 19–88. Dublin, 1768. World History

II.

THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

370.

Observations of Arthur Young in 1768

All the country from Holkam to Houghton was a wild sheepwalk before the spirit of improvement seized the inhabitants; and this glorious spirit has wrought amazing effects; for instead of boundless wilds and uncultivated wastes, inhabited by scarce anything but sheep, the country is cut into inclosures, cultivated in a most husband-like manner, richly manured, well-peopled, and yielding an hundred times the produce that it did in its former state. What has wrought these vast improvements is the marling; for under the whole country run veins of a very rich soapy kind, which they dig up and spread upon the old sheep-walks, and then by means of inclosing they throw their farms into a regular course of crops, and gain immensely by the improvement. . . .

Large farms

The principal farms (at least those that are most commonly mentioned) are Mr. Curtis’ of Summerfield, 2500 acres; Mr. Mallet’s of Dunton, as much; Mr. Barton’s of Rougham, 3000; Messrs. Glover’s of Creek and Barwic; Messrs. Savary’s of Sydderstone, each 1100 acres. Cultivation in all its branches is carried on by these men, and many others, in a very complete manner. But marling is the great foundation of their wealth. . . .

The general economy of their farms will appear from the following sketch of one of 1100 acres.

The farmer generally has 100 acres of winter corn, 250 acres of barley and oats, 50 acres of pease, 200 acres of turnips, 400 acres of grasses, and zoo acres of sheep-walk.

He keeps 6 servants, 6 laborers, 30 horses, 20 cows, 900 sheep, and 5 ploughs; and in harvest time has in all about 40 people in the field. . . .

The domestic weaving industry

Witney is very famous for its woolen manufactory; which consists of what they call kersey pieces, coarse bear-skins, and blankets. The two first they make for the North American market; vast quantities being sent up the river St. Lawrence, and likewise to New York. Their finest blankets, which rise in price to £3 a pair, are exported to Spain and Portugal; but all are sent to London first in broad-wheeled waggons, of which four or five go every week. The finest wools they work come from 8d. to 10d. a pound. The coarsest from Lincolnshire; they call it dag-locks; they sell for 4½ d. per lb. and are used for making the coarse bear-skins. There are about 500 weavers in this town, who work up 7000 packs of wool annually.

Journeymen in general, on an average, earn from 10s. to 12s. a week, all the year round, both summer and winter; but they work from four to eight, and in winter by candle-light. The work is of that nature that a boy of fourteen earns as much as a man. One of seven or eight earns by quilling and cornering, 1s. 6d. and 1s. 8d. a week, and girls the same. Old women of 60 and 70 earn 6d. a day in picking and sorting the wool; a good stout woman can earn from 10d. to 1s. a day by spinning; and a girl of 14, 4d. or 5d. They weave according to the season; in winter kerseys and bear-skins ready for shipping in the summer up the St. Lawrence; and in summer blankets for home consumption, and Spain and Portugal. . . .

Unimproved roads

Of all the cursed roads that ever disgraced this kingdom, in the very ages of barbarism, none ever equalled that from Billericay to the King’s Head at Tilbury. It is for near twelve miles so narrow that a mouse cannot pass by any carriage; I saw a fellow creep under his waggon to assist men to lift, if possible, my chaise over a hedge. The ruts are of an incredible depth, and a pavement of diamonds might as well be sought for as a quarter. The trees everywhere overgrow the road, so that it is totally impervious to the sun, except at a few places; and to add to all the infamous circumstances which concur to plague a traveller, I must not forget the eternally meeting with chalk-waggons; themselves frequently stuck fast, till a collection of them are in the same situation, and twenty or thirty horses may be tacked to each, to draw them out one by one.

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Industrial Revolution

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Chicago: "The Industrial Revolution," Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, ed. Edward Potts Cheyney (1861-1947) (Boston: Ginn, 1935, 1922), 610–612. Original Sources, accessed November 29, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=NYPZDDL4FT7JK1H.

MLA: . "The Industrial Revolution." Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, edited by Edward Potts Cheyney (1861-1947), Boston, Ginn, 1935, 1922, pp. 610–612. Original Sources. 29 Nov. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=NYPZDDL4FT7JK1H.

Harvard: , 'The Industrial Revolution' in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England. cited in 1922, Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, ed. , Ginn, 1935, Boston, pp.610–612. Original Sources, retrieved 29 November 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=NYPZDDL4FT7JK1H.