A TIMELINE

A TIMELINE - A TIMELINE: 1757-1837 1757: William Blake...

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A TIMELINE: 1757-1837 1757: William Blake born. 1759: Mary Wollstonecraft born. 1765: James Watt perfects the steam engine with immeasurable consequences. London at the turn of the 18 th century (1700) has a population of about 600,000, at the turn of the 19 th century (1800) about 800,000, at the turn of the 20 th century (1900), 6,000,000. 1770: William Wordsworth born. 1772: S. T. Coleridge born. 1775: War begins with American Colonies, who declare independence in 1776. Edmund Burke speaks in Parliament in support of the colonies’ case. War lasts until 1781. 1780: Gordon Riots rage in London for a week, set off by Parliament’s refusal to debate ending Catholic toleration, becoming a full-scale popular riot when Lord Mayor of London John Wilkes refuses for several days to intervene. 1781: Surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown, ends American War. 1783-1801: William Pitt (Prime Minister) leads a conservative government (in fact, Tory governments were in control between 1783 and 1830 with the one year’s exception of 1806-07, during which the slave trade was abolished). 1788: Mental illness of George III puts country into a national crisis. Penal colony founded in Botany Bay, Australia; Lord Byron born. 1789: French Revolution begins in France on 14 July, with the sacking of the Bastille prison and the formation of the Revolutionary Assembly. National Assembly adopts the Declaration of the Rights of Man (August). Richard Price publishes a sermon entitled “On the Love of Country” that welcomes the French Revolution as an omen of similar, though more peaceful, political changes in England. Blake writes “The French Revolution,” which is accepted by Joseph Johnson for publication but never published. Over the next three years, King Louis XVI appears to work with the assembly while constantly trying to overthrow it and undermine it; Songs of Innocence written and printed privately in illuminated manuscript by Blake 1790: Edmund Burke, a dominant and dynamic Member of Parliament who had argued in the 1770s against taxing the American colonies, publishes Reflections on the Revolution of France , which condemns the revolution as the beginning of mob rule by “the swinish multitude,” and argues against all change that does not work in accordance with the 1688 Glorious Revolution. Whatever is not traditional, in other words, is unnatural, and therefore evil, un-British, and unpatriotic. Burke’s book produces no fewer than thirty-six responses, among them rebuttals by Mary Wollstonecraft, Joseph Priestly, and Thomas Paine. A young Wordsworth, just completing his first year of college, goes to France with his friend Matthews to celebrate the first anniversary of the fall of the Bastille (commemorated in Book VI of The Prelude ). Blake writes The Marriage of Heaven and Hell . 1791-92:
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A TIMELINE - A TIMELINE: 1757-1837 1757: William Blake...

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