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Of England and the English


"Our good old island now possesses an accumulation of prosperity beyond any example in the history of the world."
Aukland to Grenville 1792.

"The young are always right, the old are always wrong."
Henry Fox.

''Good and evil wil grow up in the world together ; and they who complain, in peace, of the insolence of the population,must must remember that their insolence in peace is bravery in war.''
Dr Johnson.

''I do not think there is a people more prejudiced [towards themselves] than the British people, and they allow this to appear in their talk and manners. They look on forigners in general with contempt, and think nothing is as well done elsewhere as in their own country.'' Saussure.

''I was much surprized at the light-hearted way in which men of this country commit suicide. I could not understand this mania, which astonished me as greatly as it does other forigners...''

''I am the last person in the world to preach or to wish to meddle in your private happiness or conections, but at the same time I must fairly say to you you can have no idea how much the world talked of the public manner in which you went everywhere accompanied by Madame de St. Laurent. I am perfectly well aware that this may be done abroad, but you may depend upon it that it cannot be done here.''
The Duke of York to The Duke of Kent. 

"God damn you, am I obliged to tell you what I want !?"
Old Q to a servant, after ringing for him.

"My Dear Mama,
You cannot possibly imagine how unwilling I am to begin this melancholy letter. However as you must unavoidably hear of the fate of dear Papa, I write you these few lines to request you to bear it a patiently as you can. He died like a hero, having gallantly led his ship into action.
Captain Blackwood has indeed been very polite and kind to me and has said that on account of his acquaintance with my papa he will feel himself very happy in keeping me on board his ship.
However I would much rather see you and to be discharged into the guardship at Leith for to or three months.
My dear Mamma, I have again to request you make yourself as happy and as easy as possible. It has been the will of heaven and it is our duty to submit. Belive me, your obedient and affectionate son...
Norwich Duff. [ Cap't Duff was killed at Trafalgar, his son Norwich was 13yrs old and serving on the same ship].


''What is there to make so much of in the river Thames ? I am quite tired of it. There it goes, flow. flow, flow, always the same.'' Old Q. 


''Sille olde Joe Tombes didde slippe and sitt in thee pan of boiling watter, and didd youpe about because itt did goe hot toe his britches.''
Anne Hughes. 


''I did not belive there had been any set of men, or indeed any individual of the human species, so presumptous and so abandoned as to make the proposal which we have just heard...If any officer by whatever autherity, should demand of me an account and the number of my family, I would refuse it, and if he persisted in the affront, I would order my servants to give him the disapline of the horse pond.'' William Thornton. 


''Englishwomen generally have the charactor of keeping floors and steps and such things very clean. They are not particulary pleased if anyone comes in with dirty shoes and soils their clean floors, but he ought first rub his shoes and feet very clean, if he would be at peace with them in other things.''
Peter Kalm.

Butchers shops, deliciously clean, with all the goods spread on snow-white cloths, and cloths af a similar whiteness streached out behind large hunks of meat hanging up: no blood anywhere and no dirt.''
Sophia De La Roche. 

''We wash every five weeks...Washing and ironing generally take us four days.''
Parson Woodforde. 


Tories use The Coca Tree.
Whigs use Whites.
Scots use The British.
Officers use Youngmans.
Stockjobbers use Oldmans.
Sharpers use Littlemans.

The Bedford Coffee House...may be looked upon as the centre of gravatation between the court and the city; the noxious effuvia of St. Bride's is here corrected by the genuine eau-de-luce from Pall Mall, and the predominance of ambergris at St. James is qualified by the wholesome tar of Thames Street. Nor does the conversation recieve a less happy effect from this junction; the price of stock and the lie of the day from the Alley are softened by the Bon Mot of Lady Dollabella whichset every soul at Duchess Triffle's rout in a titter, or the duel that was fought this morning between Captain Terrible and Lord Punto, when both of them were mortally wounded in the coat.

Littlemans Coffee House...I was never so confounded in my life as when I entered this last; I saw two or three tables full at faro,heard the box and dice rattling in the room above stairs, and was surrounded by a set of sharp faces that I was afraid would have devoured me with their eyes. I was glad to drop two or three half-crowns at faro to get them off with a clear skin and was overjoyed I was so got rid of them.
John Macky.


''England is a rich sea, but strewn with many reefs, and those who voyage there would do well to take precautions.''

''I see the country of England smilingwith cultivation; the grounds exhibiting all the perfectionof agriculture, parcelled out into beautiful enclosures, cornfields, hay and pasture, woodland and common....I see her meadows well stocked with black cattle, her downs covered with sheep;....I view her teams of horses and oxen large and strong, fat and sleek;....I see her farmhouses the habitations of plenty, cleanliness and convienence; and her peasants well fed and well lodged, well clothed, tall and stout, and hale and jolly.''
Daniel Defoe.

''A curious fact is, that many noblemen live in town to economise, and though they are surrounded with great luxury, they declare that in their country seats they are forced to spend more, having to keep open house and table, packs of hounds, stables full of horses, and to entertain followers of every description.''
De Saussure. 

...those living hedges which in England more than in any other form the boundaries of green cornfields and give to the distant country the appearance of a large majastic garden.
Pastor Moritz.


''I exulted as much as a fortune-hunter who has got an heiress into a post-chaise with him to set out to Gretna-Green.''
James Boswell.

''A kind of melancholy reigns here, a somber tacitern humour.''
French Agents report.


''The rudeness of the English vulgar is terrible. This is indeed the liberty which they have' the liberty of bullying and being abusive with their blackguard tongues.
James Boswell.

''The Englishman breathes liberty, and anything that even appears to threaten this is an object of hatred to him and capable of driving him to all lengths.''


"One hears nothing now, in town but the seperation of men and their wives. Will Finch, the ex-vice Chamberlain, Lord Warwick, your friend Lord Bollingbroke. I wonder at none of them for parting; but I wonder at many for still living together; for in this country, it is certain that marriage is not well understood."
Lord Chesterfield.

"If you could lay the empire of the world at my feet, you should never share the heart and hand that once belonged to John Duke of Marlborough!"
Sarah Churchill

''I am very sorry for the forlorn state of matrimony, which is as much ridiculed by our young ladies as it used to be by young fellows, in short both sexes have found the inconvienences of it and the applation of rake is as genteel in a woman as a man of quality.''
Lady Mary Wortly Montague.

''I deplore the unpopularity of the married state, which is scorned by our young girls nowadays, as once by the young men. Both sexes have discovered, it's inconvienences, and many femine libertines may be found amoung our young women of rank. No one is shocked to hear that Miss So and So, Maid of Honour, has got nicely over her confinment.''
Lady Mary Wortly Montague.

"Sir,[Prince George] if you were a common man she,[Princess Caroline] might sleep with the D***l; I should say, let her alone and hold your tongue. But the Prince of Wales has no right to risk his daughters crown and his brothers claims."
Lord Thurlow.

"There has now fallen a snow up to ones neck...In short, tis' so bloody cold, I have almost a mind to marry to keep myself warm."

"In several conversations with them both, [Prince Edward and Madame St Laurent], they declare that they have not the least idea of marriage, not only because it would be disagreeable to their Majasties, which he will forever avoid, but because they both coincider it nugatory and foolish."
John Wentworth.

The prospect of possessing so delightful an object under my roof soon certainly causes in me some pleasing sensations, but they are accompanied by some anxious thoughts as to the prudent managment of this buisness; however, I will do as well as I can, and hobble in and out of this pleasant scrape as decently as I can. You may be assured that I will comfort her for the loss of you as well as I am able, but I know from the small specimen during your absence from London, that I shall have at times many tears to wipe from those charming eyes..."
William Hamilton to his nephew Charles Greville on 'expecting' Emma Hamilton.



At the start of the Georgian period between 1% and 2% of the population held 14.1% of the national income. At the end of the 20th Century around 1% of the population held 25% of the national income.


"...and now that I have a pension, I am the same man in every respect that I have ever been; I retain the same principles. It is not true that I cannot now curse the House of Hanover; nor would it be decent for me to drink King James' health in the wine that King George gives me money to pay for. But sir I think that the pleasure of cursing the House of Hanover, and drinking King James health are amply overbalanced by three hundred pounds a year."
Dr Johnson.


God bless the squire and his relations
And keep us in our proper stations.

''Everyone but an idiot, knows that the lower class must be kept poor or they will never be industrious.''
Arthur Young.


Birmingham 30,000
Bristol 100,000
Chester 15,000
Chippenham 2,500
High Wycome 2,500
Liverpool 50,000
Newbury 4,000
Nottingham 17,000
Oxford 8,000
Sheffield 25,000
Worcester 11.000


''Eat as much as you please, but I hope you will never kill yourself; and indeed, I think you are above any of these rustic, illeberal sports of guns, dogs and horses which charactize our English Bumpkin Country Gentlemen.'
Lord Chesterfield.


After a shower...Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow,
And bear their trophies with them as they go;
Filth of all hues and odours seem to tell
What street they sailed from, by their sight and smell...
Sweepings from the butchers stalls, dung guts and blood,
Drown'd puppies, stinking sprats, all drench'd in mud,
Dead cats and turnip tops, come tumbling down the flood.
Jonathan Swift.

''The frost severer than ever in the night as it even froze the chamber pots under the beds.''
Parson Woodforde.


''Fame, wealth or power, most men desire to find; But more than all I love sweet woman kind.''

''But to be brief, she is no taller than when you left her, certainly no fatter,[for raking does not improve people in that] as pretty as ever and always writting at her desk which my G.mother calls Fiddle faddling.''
Jane Lindley.

Lord, I've no news for you my dear Sir ! what care I whether Bounaparte goes to Constantinople or not, or whether France goes to war with Americia, or Mr Pitt's spasmodic affectations are in his head or his heels, or  - in short I did read the newspaper with an audible voice to my good mother this morning but I met with nothing so interesting to me as my own thoughts were...''
Jane Lindley.

''Wit in women is apt to have bad consequences, like a sword without a scabbard, it wounds the wearer and provokes the assailants. I am sorry to say the generality of women have excelled in wit have failed in chastity.''
Elizabeth Montague.

A quarrel happened this evening at Ranlagh, between Poll Davis and Kitty Fisher, two very pretty women of the town, [the first kept by Lord Coventry, the second by Mr Chetynd], in which the former not only boxed the others ears, but also hit L'd Coventry a slap on the face, for which she was turned out of Ranlagh and forbid to come there any more.
Lady Northumberland.

''Some men to buisness, some to pleasure take; But every woman is at heart a rake.''
Alexander Pope.

''The companion in the hours of reason and conversation - in France. The momentary toy of passion - in England.
John Sebbeare.


''...always idle when they have any money left, so that their life is spent between labour...and perfect idleness and drunkeness. Their women also, passing from affluence to distress almost every week, are forced, though soberly inclined, to lead very disorderly lives.''
Dr. J.Fordyce.

''If a person can get sufficient in four days, to support himself for seven days, he will keep holiday the other three, that he will live in debauchery.''
J. Powell.