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Wordsworth and Cobbett: a Comparison

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Abstract

This chapter compares the Golden Age ideals of William Wordsworth and William Cobbett during the Industrial Revolution in England. The common elements of their moral critiques can be gauged from the several heads below. The main concern here is the social perspective involved. Wordsworth and Cobbett are compared as members of the dependent ranks of the old landed order, in general, and the lower-middle ranks of small independent producers, in particular. Or, better still, their similar social and economic beliefs are explained by direct reference to their rural educations and upbringings in Old England. Both men are viewed as representatives of an anti-modernist tradition, in Old England, which was resisting the growth of modern, urban society, on the one hand, and the rise of industrial and commercial capitalism, on the other. Their rural assumptions and experience provide a social and economic framework for understanding the origin and significance of their Golden Age ideals of small-scale farming communities in the Lake Counties and in the south-east of England. They explain the writers’ specific commitment to old standards of rural education, domestic economy, cottage industry, and the cult of the ‘whole man’. Likewise, they explain the writers’ general support of paternal relationships between the ranks of the old landed order, as well as the appearance of populist ideas in their radical, whig and tory creeds: for example, their vehement opposition to the development of class relationships and collective action in the new factory towns, enclosed fields, and commercial centres of the day.

Keywords

Lake District Rural Labourer Rural Life Cottage Industry Romantic Critique 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    W. Wordsworth, ‘Blest Statesman He, whose Mind’s unselfish will’, l. 14 in J. O. Hayden, The Poems (1977), Vol. 2, p. 819.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    ‘All that I can boast of in my birth’, wrote Cobbett, ‘is that I was born in Old England.’ William Cobbett quoted in Daniel Green, Great Cobbett: the Noblest Agitator (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1983), p. 12.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Joseph Nicolson and Richard Burn, The History and Antiquities of the Counties of Westmorland and Cumberland (1777) quoted in F. W. Garnett, Westmorland Agriculture 1800–1900 (1912), p. 14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    C. M. L. Bouch and G. P. Jones, A Short Economic and Social History of the Lake Counties 1500–1830 (1961): see the map entitled ‘Industries of the Lake Counties’ facing p. 247 and the text of p. 252.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    These tables are composed from figures given by B. R. Mitchell, in British Historical Statistics (1988), p. 235. Cf. too the following figures (Table N1) taken from ‘Appendix D’, in E. C. K. Gonner, Common Land and Enclosure (1912), pp. 280–1:Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    J. H. Plumb, England in the Eighteenth Century (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1951), pp. 151–2.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    Cf. W. H. R. Curtler, The Enclosure and Redistribution of our Land (1920), pp. 244–7. We are not here concerned with the truth or falsity of Cobbett’s beliefs about the benefits of traditional rights to the rural poor.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    M. D. George, London Life in the Eighteenth Century (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1965), pp. 36, 39–40 and p. 321, n. 15.Google Scholar
  9. Cf. P. J. Corfield, The Impact of English Towns 1700–1800 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982), pp. 66–70 and 190–1 (notes 1 and 2).Google Scholar
  10. 12.
    J. P. Cobbett (ed.), Rural Rides, Vol. 2 (London: J. M. Dent and Sons Ltd [orig. pub. 1830] 1912), entry dated 22–03–1830, p. 226. The same point was made a century before by Daniel Defoe: ‘The magnitude of the city of London adds very considerably to the Inland Trade, for as the City is the centre of our trade, so all the manufactures are brought hither, and hence circulated again to all the country …’.Google Scholar
  11. Daniel Defoe quoted in Lewis Mumford, The City in History: its Origins, its Transformations, and its Prospects (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1961), p. 498.Google Scholar
  12. 16.
    R. S. Ferguson, A History of Westmorland (1894), pp. 170–1. For a broad account of guilds and corporations in the eighteenth century, see P. J. Corfield, op.cit., pp. 86–91.Google Scholar
  13. 17.
    Even the ‘realistic picture of mediaeval pageantry’, composed every twenty-one years, in the guild-festival of Kendal only ceased in 1759 when it was carried ‘to such an extravagant height that many of the tradesmen were ruined by the expenses’. R. S. Ferguson, ibid., p. 171. I can find no evidence that Wordsworth visited Kendal before 1788, or Carlisle before 1803. In consequence, his knowledge of manufacturing and market towns, in Cumberland, Westmorland and Furness, was mainly limited to old agricultural centres for primary produce and domestic goods, rather than new cotton, woollen, or finishing industries. M. L. Reed, Wordsworth. The Chronology of the Early Years 1770–1799 (1967), p. 87; and idem, Wordsworth. The Chronology of the Middle Years (1975), p. 222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 22.
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  15. 24.
    M. D. George, England in Transition (1953), pp. 31–5. Defoe also seized upon ‘the progressive encroachment of luxury trades on old and basic industries, and the supplying of new wants and amenities in addition to the necessities of life’.Google Scholar
  16. 26.
    Ibid., p. 487. Forestalling was the practice of buying ‘victuals or merchandise on its road to the market, or before the market-bell had rung’, in order ‘to sell it again for profit’. Regrating was the buying of ‘provisions to sell again for a profit’. Such practices in Carlisle, for example, were ‘severely repressed’ by the people’s ancestors. R. S. Ferguson, A History of Cumberland (1890), pp. 216–17.Google Scholar
  17. Cf. Elie Halevy, England in 1815 (1960), pp. 232–3 for a strong rebuttal of Cobbett’s attack on regrating and forestalling in the corn trade, during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, in the rural south.Google Scholar
  18. 30.
    Cf. W. Wordsworth, ‘Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802’ (comp. 1802; pub. 1807), l. 14 in J. O. Hayden, The Poems (1977), Vol. 1, p. 575.Google Scholar
  19. 33.
    E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (1968), pp. 504–5.Google Scholar
  20. See too G. Spater, William Cobbett: the Poor Man’s Friend, Vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), Ch. 11 ‘Westminster elections’, pp. 175–90.Google Scholar
  21. 34.
    PR (2 May 1835) quoted by G. D. H. Cole in The Life of William Cobbett, 3rd rev. edn (London: Home & Van Thal, 1947), pp. 428–9. Cf. G. Spater, op.cit., Vol. 2, pp. 442–3.Google Scholar
  22. 36.
    J. L. and B. Hammond, The Bleak Age, rev. edn (West Drayton, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1947), pp. 34–6 and 74. Cf. G. M. Trevelyan, op.cit., p. 474.Google Scholar
  23. See too Charles Dickens, Hard Times (1854) and The Old Curiosity Shop (1840–1). Re. Dickens’s vision of ‘Coketown’ (Preston) as the archetype of industrial ugliness and alienation, see Lewis Mumford, op.cit., Ch. 15: ‘Palaeotechnic Paradise: Coketown’ pp. 508–48. Re. the slums of Old London, see: M. D. George, op.cit., Ch. 1: ‘Life and Death in London’, pp. 35–72, and Ch. 2: ‘Housing and the Growth of London’, pp. 73–115. The reader is also directed to the companion piece to ‘The Reverie of Poor Susan’ (1800) called ‘The Farmer of Tilsbury Vale’ (comp. 1800; pub. 1815) in J. O. Hayden, loc.cit., Vol. 1, pp. 259–60.Google Scholar
  24. 40.
    R. Williams, Raymond Williams on Television: Selected Writings (ed. by A. O’Connor) (London and New York: Routledge, 1989), p. 6.Google Scholar
  25. 44.
    R. G. Collingwood, The Principles of Art (London: Oxford University Press, 1938), passim, esp. pp. 69–77, ‘Magical Art’, and 78–104, ‘Art as Amusement’.Google Scholar
  26. 48.
    The major drawback to the hiring fairs of Cumberland, Westmorland and Furness seems to have been the high incidence of bastardy, which had several social rather than moral causes. See the valuable article by J. D. Marshall, ‘Some Aspects of the Social History of 19th-century Cumbria: (II) Crime, Police, morals and the Countryman’, CW2, 70 (1970), pp. 221–46.Google Scholar
  27. 49.
    Aldous Huxley, for example, offered a very interesting account of the crowd’s liking for ‘illuminations’, fireworks, pageants, and parades which delves deeply into the individual’s need for visionary experience in a very dull world. Cf. A. Huxley, The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell (London: Chatto and Windus, 1972), pp. 130–42 (Appendix 3).Google Scholar
  28. 50.
    It is worth adding that towards the end of his long life, William Cobbett defended the Englishman’s right to human liberty by opposing a bill to render the dissection of corpses a legal act; one suspects that more than normative rights lay behind his position: Cobbett, at least, on several occasions revealed a very old — and even superstitious — character and agrarian view of the world. Cf. K. W. Schweizer and J. W. Osborne, Cobbett in his Times (Leicester and London: Leicester University Press, 1990), p. 154.Google Scholar
  29. 51.
    Cf. P. Linebaugh, ‘The Tyburn Riot Against the Surgeons’, in D. Hay, P. Linebaugh, J. G. Rule, et al.., Albion’s Fatal Tree: Crime and Society in Eighteenth-Century England (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1975), pp. 65–117, esp. 83, 99–100, 102 and 115.Google Scholar
  30. 52.
    E. P. Thompson, ‘Eighteenth-century English Society: Class Struggle without Class?’, SH, 3, No. 1, Jan. (1978), pp. 133–65 esp. p. 144 ff; the quotations, however, are taken from p. 159.Google Scholar
  31. 58.
    William Wordsworth to C. J. Fox, letter dated 14 January 1801, in Alan G. Hill (ed.), Letters of William Wordsworth. A New Selection (1984), pp. 42–3.Google Scholar
  32. 59.
    William Wordsworth quoted in Jared Curtis, The Fenwick Notes of William Wordsworth (1993), pp. 66–7.Google Scholar
  33. 66.
    C. J. Calhoun, ‘Community: Toward a Variable Conceptualisation for Comparative Research’, SH, 5 (1980), p. 114.Google Scholar
  34. Cf. L. Reissman, ‘Urbanism and Urbanisation’, in J. Gould (ed.), Penguin Survey of the Social Science 1965 (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1965), pp. 36–55.Google Scholar
  35. 69.
    Re. the Peace of Amien, see Asa Briggs, The Age of Improvement 1783–1867 (1959), pp. 144–5.Google Scholar
  36. 76.
    A. Briggs, ibid., pp. 161–7. See also the lucid treatment of this topic in M. W. Flinn’s book The Origins of the Industrial Revolution (1966), Ch. 4: ‘The Commercial Origins’.Google Scholar
  37. 80.
    E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (1968), pp. 820–37;Google Scholar
  38. and W. D. Rubinstein, Elites and the Wealthy in Modern British History (1987), esp. Ch. 9: ‘The End of “Old Corruption” in Britain, 1780–1860’ and Ch. 11: ‘British Radicalism and the “Dark Side” of Populism’. Cobbett’s conspiracy theory took its earliest form in his critique of the so-called ‘Pitt-system of Government’. See PR, 29, No. 23 (1815), pp. 713–17. It achieved its final form in the journalist’s account of England’s long demise from Anglo-Saxon times to the present, called A History of the Protestant ‘Reformation’ in England and Ireland (Dublin: James Duffy and Co., undated).Google Scholar
  39. 81.
    Ibid., Ch. 11, esp. pp. 345 and 360. As E. P. Thompson observed: ‘His outlook approximated most closely to the ideology of the small producers’. But Cobbett ‘stopped short of any radical critique of property-rights’. E. P. Thompson, op.cit., p. 834. The same point is made more theoretically by W. D. Rubinstein, op.cit., p. 343: ‘Populism lacks a consistent world-view and is largely lacking in the systematic element of the critique found in historical materialism’. Populism’s place in American history is sketched very well by Professor Rubinstein in his comparative essay, but the student might also refer to the various essays in J. P. Roach (ed.), American Political Thought from Jefferson to Progressivism (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1967),Google Scholar
  40. and J. F. Kasson, Civilizing the Machine. Technology and Republican Values in America 1776–1900 (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd, 1976).Google Scholar
  41. The following works are a good introduction to the study of populism in Australia; especially, its social and economic relationships to racism, millennialism, utopianism, imperialism and radical nationalism: R. Gollan, ‘American Populism and Australian Utopianism’, Labour History, No. 9, Nov. (1965), pp. 15–21Google Scholar
  42. H. McQueen, A New Britannia (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1975)Google Scholar
  43. and P. Love, Labor and the Money Power: Australian Labour Populism 1890–1950 (Melbourne University Press, 1984).Google Scholar
  44. English agrarian radicalism and populism are also treated in very different ways by the following writers: G. Stedman Jones, ‘Rethinking Chartism’ in idem, Languages of Class. Studies in English Working Class History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 90–178; I. McCalman, ‘Unrespectable Radicalism: Infidels and Pornography in Early Nineteenth-Century London’, PP, No. 4 (Aug. 1984), pp. 74–110;Google Scholar
  45. and P. Joyce, Visions of the People. Industrial England and the Question of Class 1848–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 88.
    R. M. Ogilvie, Roman Literature And Society (London: Penguin Books, 1980), pp. 242 and 248.Google Scholar
  47. 89.
    In his unfinished ‘Letter to the Bishop of Llandaff’, the poet also condemned the aristocracy for their gaming and horse-racing; their debauchery; their ‘dissimulation’; and their readiness to accept places, pensions and sinecures. His critique could have been written in content, if not in style, by Cobbett, about a decade later. W. Wordsworth, ‘A Letter to the Bishop of Llandaff’ (comp. 1793) in J. O. Hayden, William Wordsworth. Selected Prose (1988), pp. 153–7.Google Scholar
  48. 92.
    Ibid., p. 415. The notion of the ‘great wen’, however, had arisen in Elizabethan times. M. D. George, London Life in the Eighteenth Century (1965), pp. 36 and 73.Google Scholar
  49. 101.
    A. V. Dicey, The Statesmanship of Wordsworth (1917), pp. 9–10.Google Scholar
  50. 102.
    A. Cobban, Edmund Burke and the Revolt Against the Eighteenth Century, 2nd edn (1960), p. 139 and passim.Google Scholar
  51. 103.
    G. M. Trevelyan, British History in the 19th Century and After (1782–1919), 2nd edn (1937), p. 28 incl. n. 1.Google Scholar
  52. 104.
    H. Davies, William Wordsworth. A Biography (1980), p. 10Google Scholar
  53. and M. Moorman, William Wordsworth: A Biography (1957) [=Vol. 1], p. 15: ‘She was insistent’, for example, ‘that her scholars should keep the country festivals of Shrove Tide, Easter, and May Day with all due rites’.Google Scholar
  54. 105.
    Cf. W. Wordsworth, ‘Autobiographical Memoranda’ (comp. 1847) in J. O. Hayden (ed.), William Wordsworth. Selected Prose (1988), p. 5.Google Scholar
  55. 108.
    A. V. Dicey, op.cit., pp. 9–10. The cost of Wordsworth’s board with Ann Tyson, however, in 1787, was 6s 4d a week, ‘so that, when fees, books, clothes, postages and other expenses are considered, it is clear that only relatively well-to-do parents could afford such an education for their sons’. C. M. L. Bouch and G. P. Jones, A Short Economic and Social History of the Lake Counties 1500–1830 (1961), p. 200.Google Scholar
  56. 109.
    W. Wordsworth, The Prelude (Text of 1805), Bk 2, ll. 85 and 82, p. 22. Cf. T. W. Thompson, Wordsworth’s Hawkshead (1970), p. 76: Ann Tyson cooked oat bread, or ‘haver bread’ as it was called locally, because ‘there was no baker or confectioner in Hawkshead in those days’.Google Scholar
  57. 118.
    From W. Cobbett, The Life and Adventures of Peter Porcupine, August 1796, in A. D. M. Hughes (ed.), Cobbett. Selections with Hazlitt’s Essay and other Critical Estimates (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1923), p. 33.Google Scholar
  58. 123.
    Cf. W. Cobbett, Cottage Economy [1st pub. in 1822] (London: Peter Davies, 1926 edn), p. 4.Google Scholar
  59. 126.
    G. D. H. Cole, ‘William Cobbett (1762–1835)’, in idem, Persons and Periods: Studies by G. D. H. Cole (New York: Augustus M. Kelly, 1969), pp. 54–5. Cole actually uses the terms ‘Tory’ and ‘Radical’. For a recent discussion of the vexed question of Cobbett’s early status as a ‘Tory’ see: W. D. Rubinstein’s essay on populism (op.cit., pp. 351–2).Google Scholar
  60. 129.
    Cf. M. D. George, England in Transition (1953), pp. 87–8.Google Scholar
  61. 131.
    W. Cobbett, Cottage Economy (1926 edn), p. 4. Cf. too the PR, 31 (1816), p. 166 — ‘The patriotism which is inspired by the wants of the belly is of a sort that I do not admire…. I want to see the people animated by the principle of liberty and not by the calls of hunger’.Google Scholar
  62. 132.
    Cf. W. Wordsworth, ‘Guilt and Sorrow’ (1800; pub. 1842), esp. stanzas 52–7 in J. O. Hayden, loc.cit., Vol. 1, pp. 134–6. See too C. Brinton, English Political Thought in the 19th Century (1962), p. 75.Google Scholar
  63. 133.
    PR, dated 14 April 1821, quoted by Raymond Williams in Culture and Society 1780–1950 (1963), p. 33. Cobbett believed that the rural labourers had been degraded to a point at which they no they longer owed a duty to obey their social superiors and traditional leaders. He felt that the ‘conspiracy’ to deprive Englishmen of their birth-rights had reached its final stage, for example, with the ‘Captain Swing’ riots, in the south, and the sinister attempts, in Scotland, to clear the labourers from the land to createGoogle Scholar
  64. 152.
    Cf. W. Cobbett, Cottage Economy (1926 edn), p. 147: ‘Good [domestic] management … leaves the man’s wages to provide an abundance of good food and raiment; and these are the things that make happy families; and these are the things that make a good, kind, sincere, and brave people; not little pamphlets about “loyalty” and “content”. A good man will be contented fast enough, if he be fed and clad sufficiently; but if a man be not well fed and clad, he is a base wretch to be contented’.Google Scholar
  65. 154.
    R. Frost, ‘The Death of the Hired Hand’ (1914) in R. Frost (ed.), Robert Frost. Selected Poems (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1955), p. 37.Google Scholar
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    W. Cobbett, Cottage Economy (1926 edn), pp. 8–9.Google Scholar
  67. 158.
    Cf. W. Cobbett, Cottage Economy (1926), p. 9: ‘It is upon the hungry and wretched that the fanatic work[s]. The dejected and forlorn are his prey. As an ailing carcase engenders vermin, [wrote Cobbett,] a pauperised community engenders teachers of [religious] fanaticism, the very foundation of whose doctrines is, that we are to care nothing about this world, and that all our labours and exertions are vain’.Google Scholar
  68. 161.
    William Wordsworth to Francis Wrangham, letter 5 June 1808, in E. De Selincourt, ibid., Vol. 2, Pt i, p. 249; and idem to Allan Cunningham, letter dated 23 November 1825, ibid., Vol. 4 [wrongly labelled Vol. 3], Pt i (1821–8), pp. 401–3. In fact, one cannot help concluding that Wordsworth had imbibed much of the tastes and standards of the lower-middle ranks of rural society towards human nature and art. At least, John Clare, the ‘peasant poet’ of Northumberland, was also glad to sit by village fire-sides and hear ‘from old wives of Jack the Giant Killer, Cinderella, Tom Thumb’ and to listen ‘with pleasure to the ballads sung by the home-ward wending rustics — “Peggy Band”, and “Sweet Month of May”’. The Border counties, it seems, were still largely based upon oral culture and traditions. K. MacLean, Agrarian Age: a Background for Wordsworth (1950), p. 46.Google Scholar
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    PR (27 November 1817) quoted in Raymond Williams, Cobbett (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), pp. 44–5. We might well compare this passage with the following account of the important role played by Eton in the formation of class consciousness and superiority among the upper and middle classes in the early twentieth century. George Orwell wrote of his schooling that: ‘WHEN I WAS fourteen or fifteen I was an odious little snob, but no worse than other boys of my own age and class. I suppose there is no place in the world where snobbery is quite so ever-present or where it is cultivated in such refined and subtle forms as in an English public school. Here at least one cannot say that English “education” fails to do its job. You forget your Latin and Greek within a few months of leaving school — I studied Greek for eight or ten years, and now, at thirty-three, I cannot even repeat the Greek alphabet — but your snobbishness, unless you persistently root it out like the bindweed it is, sticks by you till your grave’.Google Scholar
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    William Wordsworth to John Wilson, letter dated 7 June 1802, in A. G. Hill (ed.), Letters of William Wordsworth. A New Selection (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 52.Google Scholar
  74. 173.
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  76. 175.
    W. Wordsworth, ‘Transcript of speech at Bowness’, in Christopher Wordsworth (jnr), loc.cit., Vol. 2, p. 199. Cobbett believed in the ‘natural progress’, or slow movement, between the ranks of rural society, but was convinced ‘that nine-tenths’ of men and women were ‘from the very nature and necessities of the world, born to gain’ their ‘livelihood by the sweat of’ their brows. W. Cobbett, Cottage Economy (1926 edn), p. 7.Google Scholar
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    Cf. E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (1968), pp. 486–7: ‘During the years between 1780 and 1840 the people of Britain suffered an experience of immiseration, even if it is possible to show a small statistical improvement in material conditions’.Google Scholar
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    PR (30 Aug. 1823) quoted in G. D. H. Cole, op.cit., p. 259. Cf. too I. Pinchbeck and M. Hewitt, Children in English Society (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1969), Vol. 1, p. 407: in 1832, A Memoir of Robert Blincoe was published in Manchester. In this plebeian work, William Wilberforce was strongly criticised ‘for only pleading the black slave’s cause, never that “of that homely kind, as to embrace the region of the home-cotton-slave-trade”’. Blincoe had been ‘taken at seven years’ of age ‘as a parish apprentice from St Pancras workhouse [in London] to Lowdham Mill, near Nottingham, and subsequently moved to Litton Mill, near Tideswell, Derbyshire’. His Memoir was ‘intended to show that the comparison between the lot of the young factory worker and that of the slave was not without substance’. For example, at ‘Lowdham Mill, “from morning till night he was continually being beaten, pulled by the hair of his head, kicked or cursed” by the overseers who had to have so much work produced or be dismissed. His hours of work were fourteen a day for a six-day week, plus frequent overtime, despite Peel’s Factory Act of 1802, which was then in “operation”, and laid down that no poor law apprentice was to work more than twelve hours a day’.Google Scholar
  80. 189.
    S. Pollard, The Idea of Progress (1968), p. 71. Adam Smith believed that ‘every individual … neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it … by directing … industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which has no part of his intention’ (Adam Smith quoted by Sidney Pollard, ibid., p. 72).Google Scholar
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    A. Ure, from The Philosophy of Manufactures (1835) in A. Clayre (ed.), Nature & Industrialization (1977), p. 71.Google Scholar
  82. 198.
    Ibid., pp. 80–1. Cf. too R. Williams, op.cit., pp. 62–3. For a clear account of Marx’s views of ‘patriarchal industries’ and the ‘natural’ division of labour and property in pre-industrial times, see the helpful extracts from Das Kapital (1867), in T. B. Bottomore and M. Rubel (eds), Karl Marx. Selected Writings in Sociology and Social Philosophy (1963), Part Two, Ch. 1: ‘Forms of Property and Modes of Production’, passim.Google Scholar
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    F. D. Klingender, Art and the Industrial Revolution [pub.1947], rev.edn (1968), p. 103. Klingender argued that Wordsworth’s strong stand against the factory system was the result of his earlier hopes that science and technology would liberate men from heavy labour and improve the material quality of their lives. Such a view was evident in the poet’s famous ‘Preface to’ the Lyrical Ballads (1800/1802): see, for example, the statements made in J. O. Hayden, loc.cit., Vol. 1, p. 881. Unfortunately, Dr Klingender’s marxisant study of the poet’s ‘Romantic’ writings missed the wider rural assumptions and ‘populist’ perspective involved in Wordsworth’s Golden Age theories during the Industrial Revolution in England: 1770–1850.Google Scholar
  84. 200.
    Cf. W. Cobbett, Cottage Economy (1926 edn), p. 7; PR (14 April 1821) quoted in G. D. H. Cole, op.cit., pp. 266–7; and R. Williams, op.cit., pp. 35–7. On these grounds, too, they argued against the rise of trades unions. Such bodies, whether legal or not, undermined the independence of the individual worker to make his way in the world and set master against man.Google Scholar
  85. See William Wordsworth’s cancelled ‘Postscript’ to the Yarrow Revisited volume of poems, published in 1835, printed in W. J. B. Owen and J. W. Smyser (ed.), The Prose Works of William Wordsworth (1974), Vol. 3, pp. 268–9 and 272–3; G. D. H. Cole, op.cit., pp. 261–3 and 266–8.Google Scholar
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    Cf., for example, Phyllis Deane, op.cit., p. 97: ‘Between about 1820 and about 1845 the [cotton] industry’s total output quadrupled and total incomes generated in Britain increased by 50 per cent, but the workers’ wages barely rose at all’. See too Asa Briggs, Victorian Cities (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968), p. 18.Google Scholar
  87. 202.
    William Wordsworth quoted by Henry Crabb Robinson, diary entry dated 31 May 1812, in Thomas Sadler (ed.), Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence of Henry Crabb Robinson (London: Macmillan and Co., 1869), Vol. 1, p. 389. See too William Wordsworth quoted in Jared Curtis, op.cit., p. 90. Cf. PR (14 April 1821) quoted in Raymond Williams, op.cit., p. 36: addressing the Nottingham stocking-weavers, who wanted to keep ‘bagmen’ out of the industry, and thereby prevent competition with the factory workers, Cobbett wrote: ‘You are for cutting off the chain of connection between the rich and the poor. You are for demolishing all small tradesmen. You are for reducing the community to two classes: Masters and Slaves’.Google Scholar
  88. 209.
    Cf. B. Russell, A History of Western Philosophy (1984), p. 607.Google Scholar
  89. 210.
    W. Cobbett, ‘COBBETT’S ADVICE TO THE CHOPSTICKS’ (Edinburgh, 14–10–1832) in Daniel Green (ed.), Cobbett’s Tour in Scotland by William Cobbett (1763–1835) (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1984), pp. 28–9.Google Scholar
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