World History – Chapter Twenty One
The Struggle for Mastery of the World and the rise of Napoleon
1700 to 1800
Jamestown, the beginning of the Old Dominion State of Virginia, we are told by Samuel Eliot Morison in The Oxford History of the American People, was founded in 1607 under the authority of King James I at the same time that the French trading post of Port Royal, Nova Scotia was being virtually abandoned. Champlain, in 1608, then began under the Rock of Quebec on the St. Lawrence River; the first French post in the Americas destined to be an important city. In 1609, Henry Hudson sailed the Hudson River in New York, the first time for any European since Verrazano in 1524, in the Dutch vessel ‘The Half Moon’, ushering in the short lived Dutch Empire in the Americas. The English and the French had the most lasting empires next to Spain in this part of the world.
In 1620, a band of self named Pilgrims landed on the shores of a part of Virginia which had just been renamed New England. Their colony was known as New Plymouth and was the second focal point of the English American Empire. A third was established in 1625 on the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts. Port Royal, for the French, was revitalized by a lady in waiting to the Queen of France, Madame de Guercheville, who paid the bills to reoccupy the post. Her employees also set up a missionary station at Mount Desert in the present day State of Maine in 1613 which was wiped out by an expedition from Virginia under a Captain Argall. He then enforced the same punishment on Port Royal to let the French know that the continent truly belonged to England. In the St. Lawrence River valley the French and the Dutch had already taken sides in the conflicts between the Iroquois and the Huron Indians and the King of Spain was close to attacking Jamestown.
The four prominent European nations that claimed territory in the Americas were constantly fighting over their claims. With the loss of the Roanoke Colony the English had learned that founding a colony was expensive business. Sir Walter Raleigh had lost a large fortune in his colonizing efforts. The first twelve of the English colonies and all English island colonies except Jamaica had been founded by private companies with them starting as trading posts and colonized by employees. The first English colony to be purely agricultural from the beginning was Bermuda in 1612 as there were no natives to trade with other than a few hogs left by the Spanish. Since this is not a course on American History I am narrowing our focus down to the geopolitical implications of the American colonies. England considered itself overpopulated, wanted a market for its woolen manufactures, needed precious metals like gold, wanted to produce commodities like olive oil and wine which until now it had to buy at great cost, wanted a short route to the Indies; India and China, and wanted to propagate Protestant Christianity and keep the Roman Catholic Church from proselytizing the entire population of North America.
It was understood that any English settlement had to have English law and English liberty, Morison tells us. The first charter of the Virginia Company declared that the
colonists and all of their descendants would have all liberties afforded to an Englishman. These became fighting words in the 1770’s.
Back in Europe, between 1698 and 1699, Peter I of Russia and Augustus II of Poland who was also Elector of Saxony, joined Frederick IV of Denmark in a secret alliance against Sweden who was in control of the Baltic Sea region. The resultant war is called the Great Northern War and lasted from 1700 until 1721 when it was ended by the Treaty of Nystad having Russia supplant Sweden as the Baltic’s dominant power and making Russia a major European power.
With the last Spanish Habsburg king, Charles II, childless, there was a war over who would rule Spain with French interests speaking loudly. The War of the Spanish Succession began in 1701 with France occupying forts in the Spanish Netherlands resulting in several powers joining for war. This conflict lasted until 1715 and was concluded with the Treaty of Madrid. The English forces that led the allies against France were led by John Churchill, to become First Duke of Marlborough, ancestor of Winston Churchill, and considered to be Britain’s greatest military genius for his actions during this war that saw England, the Netherlands, Austria, Prussia, most of the German states, and Portugal line up against Savoy, Mantua, Cologne, and Bavaria under the leadership of France. Eventually Savoy switched sides. It has been said that Churchill never lost a battle.
When Louis XIV of France died in 1715, his grandson, Philip of Spain, the uncle of Louis XV, wanted to be king of France also. England, again, was opposed to any union between France and Spain. Thus began the War of the Quadruple Alliance between 1718 and 1720, as most other wars in Europe, consisting of forces of one relative fighting against the forces of another relative by marriage or birth. England and the Netherlands lined up against France and Spain ending in the Treaty of the Hague in 1720 and not a lot being settled but the balance of power in Europe being maintained with France the superpower and England and the Netherlands with their allies keeping them in some kind of check.
In Poland, the death of Augustus II saw the beginning of the War of the Polish Succession, lasting for five years between 1733 and 1738 with Russia invading Poland. The Treaty of Vienna in 1738 which resulted in Poland’s king abdicating and several rulers swapping territory like pieces on a game board.
The Austro-Russian-Turkish War of 1736, an outgrowth of the War of the Polish Succession, lasted for three years until the Treaty of Nissa in 1739 forced the Russians to make peace with Turkey and abandon hopes of building a navy on the Black Sea.
With the death of Emperor Joseph I, there was a War of the Austrian Succession between 1740 and 1748, with several rival claimants to the throne, and at least one of them, Archduke Charles IV of Austria, having been involved in the War of the Spanish
succession as a claimant for the throne of that country. Maria Theresa inherited the Habsburg Empire upon the death of Charles IV. Frederick II of Prussia got involved on her behalf but wanted Silesia in return. She refused and the side war called the First Silesian War took place between 1740 and 1742. After the brief interval of the Second Silesian War, at the Treaty of Dresden, Prussia was victorious and Maria Theresa honored Frederick’s claim to Silesia and the election of her husband as emperor. Once again, France and England squared off as allies of opposing sides with France and Prussia being together. These two Silesian Wars were intertwined with the War of the Austrian Succession. Finally, this round of hostilities in Europe ended inconclusively in 1748.
To interject my own personal comments here plainly; I believe that on the political front, Satan’s main efforts have been to work toward lining up one worldwide government standing opposed to God in the last days as his efforts in the religious sphere is to align mankind up under one worldwide religion opposed to God. This, of course, is all done, convincing mankind that he and she are moving toward a better world by this union in order to stop war, poverty, injustice, and religious bigotry and finally doing what God really wants for mankind. To me, history has been very clear on these points.
That being said, back in Great Britain (James I term for Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland) in 1699 Parliament enacted the Disbanding Act, limiting involvement of their king, William II, in European wars and reducing the standing army to 7,000 men. The Act of Settlement followed in 1701 made all future kings Protestant by law and were not to leave the country without parliament’s permission. They could not engage England in war for defense of their foreign possessions and could not grant office to foreigners. The act asserted the right of ministers to be held responsible for the actions of the king. Imagine holding the president’s cabinet responsible for his actions legally. In 1701, James II had died in France and someone named James Edward, a Stuart, called the “Old Pretender” assumed the throne, recognized by Louis XIV of France. He never actually ruled England and his efforts to assume control with French help failed. Queen Anne, reigning from 1702 to 1714, was the last Stuart to reign over England with James I being the first.
There was a rebellion in Scotland called “The Forty Five” between 1745 and 1746, when the “Old Pretender’s” son, Charles Edward Stuart aka “Bonnie Prince Charlie” or the “Young Pretender” raised an army of 2,000 and marched on Edinburgh, capturing it. He then attempted to invade England. This Jacobite Rebellion, named so for things to do with James I (Stuart) of England was called Jacobite as James is the English version of the Hebrew name Jacob. It ended with the historic and disastrous (for the Scots) Battle of Culloden in 1746.
As I pointed out before, England was involved in both the War of the Austrian Succession and the War of the Spanish Succession against France.
Italy continued to be a battleground for its more powerful neighbors in the 18th century, or 1700’s, with every war seeming to include some bloodshed on that peninsula.
While the Turkish Ottoman Empire fought with various European powers, Persia, modern day Iran, went through some warring up and downs of its own. It nearly collapsed in the early 18th century, being invaded by Afghanistan and losing some its provinces to Russia and Turkey. Persia’s fortunes were revived under one of the greatest soldiers in its history, Nadir Kuli Beg, or Nadir Shah. He is considered the last great Asian conqueror, driving out the Afghan’s, defeating the Turks several times, defeating the Russians, and conquering Mogul India. His empire collapsed at his death in 1747.
As part of the War of the Austrian Succession, the First Carnatic War between 1744 and 1748, and the Second Carnatic War between 1749 and 1754, saw the French East India Company and the British East India Company fighting for control of India, using the armies and navies of their governments, whose fortunes were linked with them, to fight each other.
In Africa, this is the period of the domination of the Lunda Kingdom located in northeastern Angola and in what was to become Zaire. The Ashanti kingdom saw unrest over the succession of to the throne after the death of its great king, Osei Tutu. Between 1712 and 1755 Mamari Kulibali of the Segu Kingdom, known as “The Commander”, created a professional army and navy, capturing Timbuktu and defeating an attempted invasion by the King of Kongo. In order to ensure access to European weapons, King Agaja of Abomey conquered other kingdoms on the Guinea (a European word for Africa) Coast and created the Dahomey Kingdom. The Dahomey fought wars with the rich Oyo Kingdom which they lost on two occasions. All of these African kingdoms were growing rich on the slave trade which was prospering, sending millions of prisoners of war and conquest to the “New World”. While the older empires had grown rich over the gold trade which had been displaced by the focus on gold from the Americas these 18th century kingdoms were getting rich on human traffic.
Around 1700, the Masai, a cattle herding people, began moving into Kenya on the east coast of Africa. The Portuguese involved themselves in brief alliances with petty kingdoms to gain influence. The Dutch Boers began moving north from the southern coast of Africa as Bantu peoples moved south.
In the America’s, the American version of the War of the Spanish Succession was called Queen Anne’s War, fought from 1702 to 1713. The American version of the War of the Austrian Succession was called King George’s War and was fought between 1740 and 1748. In Latin America the War of the Quadruple Alliance saw conflict between the French and the Spanish in Florida and Texas for two years until 1720. Paraguay rebelled against Spain between 1721 and 1725 when the governor of Asuncion refused to accept the new governor sent from Lima and ousted the Jesuits for interfering in his rule. The rebellion was finally crushed. The Araucanian Indians tried to oust the Spaniards from
Southern Chile and failed as well. Venezuela saw a failed uprising in 1749 and the Spanish and Portuguese, as part of the War of the Polish Succession, fought over their possessions in Latin America, particularly in Uruguay. The American colonies were constantly torn by their master’s disputes in Europe. This was a source of irritation for English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish speaking colonists who were increasingly feeling a sense of identity, if not apart from their European masters at least, often in equality to their European overlords although a great many colonists would always feel loyalty to their European sovereigns first and foremost.
Great improvements in weaponry saw the latter half of the 18th century display the brilliance in bloodshed of four great captains of war; Frederick II of Prussia called Frederick the Great, George Washington in America who managed to lose almost every battle and yet win his war, Napoleon Bonaparte whose star began to rise, and Horatio Nelson whose command of the ocean for Great Britain would shatter all old naval tactics. George Washington is usually discounted as being a brilliant commander but many military historians applaud the way he persevered against great odds to achieve ultimate success.
There were three great wars of this period between 1750 and 1800; the Seven Year’s War between 1756 and 1763, the American Revolution between 1775 and 1783, and the French Revolutionary Wars between 1791 and 1800. The entire world was in the grip of war at some point with the result being the French colonial Empires in America and India being destroyed and a worldwide British empire being firmly established, and the United States of America coming into being. Strangely, the end of the period did see France, defeated elsewhere, to be the dominant power in Europe on land.
William Pitt the elder, war minister for England during the Seven Years War with the French, was one of those far sighted men who saw the need for Britain to have a strong navy.
The Seven Years War saw the Holy Roman Empire (Austria), France, Russia, Sweden, and Saxony (alarmed by the growing power of Prussia) join in a coalition against Prussia under Frederick. England allied with Prussia, already being in almost constant hostility with France. The Treaty of Paris closed the hostilities with France renouncing its claims to Canada. The French Canadians around eastern Quebec were called Acadians. Many expelled by the British moved to Louisiana and their name became corrupted from Acadian to Cajun, a term used today. The poem, Evangeline, is a tragedy written by poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, about a young Acadian’s attempt to reunite with her love.
Also at the Treaty of Paris, Spain traded Florida to England for the return of captured Havana, Cuba. At the Treaty of San Lidefonso on November 3, 1762 (there were three such named treaties in the 18th century) as compensation for allying with France, Spain had received all of France’s land west of the Mississippi river. This, later, would be
purchased by Thomas Jefferson from France and is called the Louisiana Purchase. How France got it back comes later.
The Wars of the French Revolution resulted from the growing violence and tyranny of the French revolutionary movement that we have already mentioned and the efforts of other European kings to restore King Louis XVI to his throne. This was called the War of the First Coalition and lasted from 1792 to 1798. Unfortunately, for Louis XVI, to keep him from being restored to the throne, this meant his beheading in 1793 along with his queen, Marie Antoinette. France was now at war with virtually the entire world, as far as Europe was concerned. A national draft was imposed, Belgium was annexed, and the country invaded the Netherlands. Also, in 1793, a Reign of Terror under Maximilien Robespierre and the Committee for Public Safety began. France neared collapse. The entire male population of France was drafted. By sheer weight of numbers the French had some success in repulsing the armies of its enemies and former friends. The French fleet which had helped the Americans to victory by its mere presence was defeated by the British under Admiral Hood.
However, the French continued to be successful on land and in 1795 the government was replaced by the Directory, a 5 man committee. General Napoleon Bonaparte, who started out as a second lieutenant of artillery, rose to prominence with his military command and defeated all comers, using military genius and strict discipline of those he commanded to wield the French into a formidable fighting force. He ruled France as the First Consul of the French Republic in 1799 but then after failed plot to kill him which he used as an excuse to restore the hereditary monarchy of France, had himself declared Napoleon I, Emperor of France, in 1804, and unlike Charlemagne, he took the crown from the Pope’s hands and crowned himself; some saying this was his refusal to acknowledge the Pope’s supremacy while others say it was planned in advance by all parties. He crowned his wife, Josephine, as empress.
Napoleon was at constant odds with Pope Pius VII, who desperately wanted the return of the Papal States the Papacy once controlled and lands in Germany that he had lost to German princes who had seized them and that had been lost by treaties. Eventually, Napoleon would be excommunicated when he conquered the Papal States in 1808 (France had conquered them previously in the 1790’s but restored them to the Papacy in 1800) and annexed them to France. The Pope was then kidnapped although some say not by Napoleon’s orders. Nevertheless, Napoleon did not offer his release and he remained in confinement for six years being pressured to give up his power altogether or to sign a concordat with Napoleon. He was restored in 1814 by the British as they chased Napoleon down. He then asked for better treatment of the former emperor, exiled on St. Helena Island after being defeated for the last time at the Battle of Waterloo, having escaped from his exile on the island of Elba and governing France for 100 days.
Between 1768 and 1774, Turkey fought a war against Catherine the Great of Russia, declaring war on Russia after Poland appealed to Turkey for help fighting a Russian
invasion. This war was settled by the Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji in 1774 which saw both sides surrender territory and make promises to each other that would be hard to monitor. There was a second war against Catherine of Russia between 1787 and 1792 which Russia started and which ended in the Treaty of Jassy resulting in Russia returning some conquered territory.
Persia had a succession struggle after Nadir Shah’s death and was split between three rivals until Karim Khan took over the entire country. Upon Karim Khan’s death in 1779 there was a civil war precipitated by the eunuch general Agha Mohammed against the Khan’s successors. His own reign from 1794 to 1797 was known as a brutal and cruel one. After his assassination in 1797, the new Shah, Fath Ali, was incited by the British to invade Afghanistan, a disaster for both countries.
India was being squeezed by four European countries for all they could get but Portugal’s influence was limited to Goa, Diu, and Daman. The Dutch influence was dying out and only England and France fought for control of India’s vast resources. The French version of the British East India Company was the Compagnie des Indies. The British East India Company had the power of a sovereign state including the making of war and peace with any non-Christian nation. It had its own army under English commanders being manned by regular English army troops and mercenaries. The 1757 Battle of Plassey in which the clerk turned soldier, Robert Clive, defeated a superior force of French led native Indian troops was a decisive one in their struggle for control which fell to the British after the Fourth Mysore War ended in 1799.
Burma, the Southeast Asian country now known as Myanmar, saw its greatest glory in these years when it defeated a Chinese army which had invaded in 1769 and forced it to surrender. Siam, now Thailand, saw King Rama I found the modern city of Bangkok during his reign from 1782 to 1809.
China’s Manchu Empire reached its greatest height of power and size under the Emperor Ch’ien Lung (aka Kao Tsung) between 1736 and 1796, tightening control of Central Asia and invading Tibet in 1751, a country which had been under nominal control since 1662. The Dalai Lama was forced to submit to Chinese authority. Between 1755 and 1760 Vietnam invaded Cambodia but then went through a protracted and long civil war until 1801.
In North America, the Seven Years War played out as the French and Indian War, between 1754 and 1763. Before the American Revolution which resulted not so much from the American colonists revolting against British rule, at least at first, as against King George III’s taking away some of the self-government that the Americans had long enjoyed, Pontiac’s rebellion against British control opened up some of the hostilities. Chief of the Ottawa tribe, he attacked Detroit (now Detroit, Michigan) unsuccessfully and then destroyed every British fort west of Niagara except Fort Pitt (modern day
Pittsburgh). He was defeated at the Battle of Bushy Run by a British force that marched from Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
The violence and unrest in the American colonies continued with the Yankee-Pennamite Wars in the Wyoming Valley of the Susquehanna River between Connecticut and Pennsylvania settlers over Connecticut’s claim of dominion from “sea to sea”. Connecticut drafted so many settlers for the Revolutionary War later that the settlements fell easy prey to British Loyalist forces called Tories, from New York, and a bloody massacre called the Wyoming Valley Massacre took place. The Yankee-Pennamite Wars began in 1769 and continued right up until 1807 when they were ended by an uneasy truce. Events such as the famed “Boston Massacre” and the “Boston Tea Party” caused Parliament to put Boston under military control resulting in the First Continental Congress meeting in 1774 in Philadelphia.
There was an uprising in North Carolina by settlers calling themselves “Regulators” against British control in 1771. Then, in 1774, Lord Dunmore’s War against the Shawnee Indians led to further bloodshed. With the accepted beginning of hostilities at Lexington and Concord in 1775 the War of the American Revolution saw England lose its most valuable colonies in North America, keeping only Canada (no offense meant, Canadians), after Britain sued for peace in 1782 and the Treaty of Paris took place on November 30 of that year. In September of that year, a joint Franco-Spanish force laid siege to the British outpost of Gibraltar on Spain’s southern tip, controlling the entrance to the Mediterranean, for three years. Hostilities between England and the Franco-Spanish alliance were temporarily ended by the Treaty of Versailles in 1783.
The fledgling country, the United States of America, fought desperate battles with Native American Indians resulting in disastrous defeats and massacres for them. President Washington called General “Mad” Anthony Wayne out of retirement to defeat the Maumee Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers near present day Toledo, Ohio. Being dragged into the Wars of the French Revolution resulted in a sort of war with France with America being successful. Latin America saw Spain take advantage of the British troubles with her American colonists by seizing Pensacola, Florida and the Bahamas. The Treaty of Versailles gave Florida to Spain but returned the Bahamas to England.
In South Africa the Dutch Boers accepted British conquest in 1795 because the British were enemies of the French whom they hated for conquering Holland, their native land.
Scientific advancements in this period included learning from Native Americans who would isolate wounded warriors unlike the Europeans who kept their wounded in infirmaries where they often died from secondary infections. Native American women used quinine, sassafras, ipecac, and witch hazel to treat minor illnesses and injuries.
The straitjacket was invented during the 1700’s also. Note that the AV or King James Bible uses the word, strait, as a reference to something confining, easily defined in Matthew 7:14 and Job 36:16.
English farmer, Jethro Tull, (not the 1970’s rock and roll band) invented a multirow machine drill that planted several rows of seeds simultaneously. The selective breeding of animals was improved by Robert Blakewell. Added to other events this produced an Agricultural Revolution in England and its colonies. The Andean potato was first introduced to the American colonies in 1718. The idea of cross fertilizing corn is established in 1724
The Agricultural Revolution led to another revolution. In 1709 English ironworks master Abraham Darby makes an important improvement in iron production. In 1712 the English blacksmith, Thomas Newcomen invents a steam engine that bears his name which drives a piston to generate power. Both of these innovations lead England into what is called the Industrial Revolution. Most of humanity through most of history had been almost completely dependent upon either human, animal, wind, or water power for energy to perform work but that was changing. In 1733, English weaver John Kay invents the flying shuttle, a great improvement on the hand loom which simplifies the industrialization of textile production. In 1740, superstrong cast steel, Sheffield Steel is introduced into England by Benjamin Huntsman.
These revolutions in agriculture, textile, and iron and steel production made England a powerhouse and drove it far ahead of any other country for nearly two hundred years. The Industrial Revolution changed the entire fabric of English society. Unemployed and disenfranchised people from the countryside now not only had the New World to emigrate to in order to make a life for themselves but they also moved to the cities where industry was being created. Not only were new opportunities and perhaps a “better life” awaiting them but also slums, alcoholism, and a shorter life in unsafe factory conditions and substandard housing. Many fortunes were made and England became the world’s great superpower but many lives were destroyed and rural ways of life that had gone unchanged for centuries were overthrown. Cities had never been particularly sanitary or safe places to live with open sewers and filth and squalor everywhere but now huge clouds of smoke belched out of many smokestacks in English cities; the price of progress.
Revolutionary new ideas or old ideas rewrapped in modern packaging would emerge from the disaffected in the slums of England, as the voices of poverty and exploitation became the voices of revolution. Children, as young as seven and even younger in some cases, would work 12 to 18 hour days in the service of the new capitalism, in unsafe and inhumane conditions just as their parents would, often just making enough to survive another day. The great textile mills would even advertise for and house children in barracks.
As the world becomes more and more one global community today, a similar situation exists in developing countries that sell to wealthy countries. The price of progress for most of humanity is lost childhoods and short, miserable lives existing in squalor and hopeless conditions as children in poor countries repeat the trials and tribulations of English children of the 1700’s.
Some of the important scientists of the 1700’s would be Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit of Germany who invented the mercury thermometer in 1714 and I bet you can’t guess what scale of heat measurement. Edmund Halley predicted the return of the comet that bears his name in 1705. Cotton Mather, the Boston preacher, reported that smallpox vaccinations were performed by his black slaves by applying serum from an infected pustule of an infected person into an incision made on a healthy person thereby producing immunity. Other primitive cultures were discovered to do the same thing. Isaac Newton does a great deal of his work in the early 1700’s, becoming president of the Royal Society in 1703, being knighted by Queen Anne in 1705, and continuing his work until his death in1727 when he becomes the first scientist buried in Westminster Abbey, the burial home of many kings. The steam engine is refined, but not invented, by Scottish engineer, James Watt in 1765. Joseph Priestley publishes a work on electricity in 1767. The Frenchman Antoine Lavoisier discovered the effects of oxygen and Austrian Franz Mesmer makes his claims about animal magnetism and hypnotism in the 1770’s.
In 1728, Danish navigator Vitus Bering discovers the Bering Strait, proving that North America is not connected by land to Asia as was hoped while he worked for Czar Peter the Great of Russia. Englishman James Cook discovers what will be called Australia and New Zealand in 1768. In 1735 Carolus Linnaeus from Sweden presents his first system of plant classification. His eventual method of animal and plant life into such categories as family, order, and species will still be used by scientists into the late 20th century. It must be remembered that the way God classifies animals in the Bible is much different from Linnaeus’ method and trying to match them up as in thinking of Biblical “kinds” in terms of Linnaeus’ “species” is like comparing apples to oranges.
Swiss-French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau publishes Discourse on the Inequalities of Men in 1754 stating that man is good and that civilization corrupted him with social contracts he makes attempting to even things out. This type of thinking underpins the modern welfare state. German philosopher, Immanuel Kant publishes in the mid-century as well.
The smooth-bore musket is improved upon by the Pennsylvania rifle around 1710. Coal is mined in Virginia for the first time in 1742. The Conestoga Wagon is named after the town where it was developed in Pennsylvania’s Amish country in 1753.
On a lighter note, Welsh Catholic priest Father John T. Needham claims to have proven spontaneous generation in 1748, insisting that living things can generate from lifeless matter. This nonsense will persist until in the next century when it is revived in
the modern theory of evolution that eventually states that all living matter generated from lifeless matter. French evolutionist Jean-Baptiste Robinet publishes his five volume work on theistic evolution in 1761. A theistic evolutionist is someone who believes in evolution but believes that God started it.
Scientific discoveries keep pouring in with the invention of new technologies and the refinement of old ones.
With regard to the arts, in the 1700’s Joruri puppet theater becomes popular in Japan, with puppets having moveable eyes, fingers, and feet, and three performers manipulating each one to enact a story written by playwrights. European actors begin wearing makeup with a type of grease to help them appear to be the age of the character they are playing. This will become, in the next century, powder based makeup applied over a grease foundation. Wax figures become popular both in Europe and in America during this century, also. English painter, William Hogarth, and American greats, John Singleton Copley and Benjamin West work in the 1700’s, as does famed cabinetmaker, Thomas Chippendale.
In 1702, British novelist and journalist, Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders, also a religious dissenter to the state church, published his satirical pamphlet, The Shortest Way with the Dissenters. For this he was fined, imprisoned, and pilloried. In the same year, Cotton Mather, in America, writes Magnalia Christi Americana, calling for the renaissance of the religious spirit in the Americas. In 1704, English clergyman and writer, Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, writes his famous satires on intellectual corruption, The Battle of the Books and A Tale of a Tub. English poet, Alexander Pope, first publishes in 1709. English critic, Samuel Johnson, begins publishing in 1738. Between 1776 and 1788, English historian, Edward Gibbon, publishes the six volumes of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. English artist and poet, William Blake, and Scottish Poet, Robert Burns, pen their works as does the infamous Marquis de Sade, from which we get the word, sadism. The best known biography in the history of the English language, James Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson, is written in 1791.
Between 1732 and 1757, Benjamin Franklin publishes Poor Richard’s Almanack, an annual compendium of practical information and plain philosophical thinking. In 1741, American preacher, Jonathan Edwards, gives and publishes perhaps the greatest sermon in history, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. French humanist, Voltaire, begins publishing in the middle of the century. The first “minstrel” show, with white performers wearing black face, is performed in Philadelphia in 1767. The Farmer’s Almanac first appears in 1793, today called The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
In 1705, George Friedric Handel, eventual composer of the great choral work, Messiah, writes his first opera, Almira. The German composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, becomes court musician to the Duke of Weimar in 1708. He will go on to write and
perform many great Christian themed masterpieces. In 1764, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart writes his first symphony at the age of eight. In 1778, Ludwig van Beethoven, age eight is presented by his father as a six year old music prodigy. Franz Joseph Haydn begins composing in the late part of the century, as well, as does William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, author of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Now, let’s move onto activities purely in the sphere of religion in the 1700’s. In the Catholic Church the Society of Jesus, known as the Jesuits, had become so involved worldwide, in the political affairs of nations as well as in the economic affairs, they were actually expelled from many countries for their meddling. In 1773, Pope Clement XIV wrote a Brief of Dissolution. The order’s general, Father Ricci, was even imprisoned and died in confinement. Their intrusion in commerce and politics in many European countries had been disastrous for those countries with their negative influence going all the way to Japan and China. European opinion was that, when Clement died fourteen months after signing the Brief, it was by the hand of the Jesuits who had become powerful with plantations operated by slaves, manufactures, and a worldwide financial and political empire at stake. Jesuit priests had become the Confessors of many European kings, princes, queens, and princesses and had instigated wars or at least had a hand in their initiation. However, they were re-established in Europe by Pope Pius VII in 1814. One of their supporters called this re-establishment an act of counter-revolution. Nevertheless, they were finally expelled from even Russia by 1820. The society was virtually reborn, however, in the 19th century.
In 1652, as a reaction to the established Church of England, a preacher named George Fox founded the Quakers also known as the Society of Friends, a pacifist Christian group. The Pennsylvania Colony, founded by William Penn, was to be a refuge for Quakers, four of which had been executed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony by Puritans, just as Rhode Island had been founded by a Baptist minister, Roger Williams, who, among others, was forced to flee that persecution.
Presbyterians have also featured prominently in United States history. The Rev. Francis Makemie, who arrived in the U.S. from Ireland in 1683, helped to organize the first American Presbytery at Philadelphia in 1706. In 1726, the Rev. William Tennent founded a ministerial 'log college' in Pennsylvania. Twenty years later, the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton University) was established. Other Presbyterian ministers, such as the Rev. Jonathan Edwards and the Rev. Gilbert Tennent, were driving forces in the so-called "Great Awakening," a revivalist movement in the early 18th century. One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, the Rev. John Witherspoon, was a Presbyterian minister and the president of Princeton University from 1768-1793.
Preacher John Wesley is given the credit for founding the Methodist Church in London, in 1739. The above mentioned churches, among many other groups, had a great influence in American History in particular.
Now, for a discussion on a group of people whose activities were being sharply curtailed at the end of this period of time although one figured prominently in a famous battle of our second war with Great Britain. I am talking about Pirates, or the Buccaneers. Pirates not only acted on their own but were often used by countries to attack their enemies by virtue of granting them written authorization to attack the opponent’s shipping.
Although, pirates and pirating always existed throughout history as either a purely criminal activity or as a government approved method of cheaply attacking one’s enemy, the most famous pirates and the ones we think of when the word, pirate, is mentioned are the English pirates who sailed the Caribbean Sea in the numerous conflicts with Spain. Pirates still exist today, mostly in Asian and African waters and the US Navy has recently had gun battles with them. But, the colorful pirates of history are, being remote from us in time and not a threat to us personally, fun and interesting to study. Our opinion might change if as a crew member of a merchant vessel plying the Indian Ocean or as a passenger on a cruise ship about to be boarded by AK-47 wielding thugs we realized that our lives were in great danger.
The word Pirate might come from the Latin word, peirato, first coined by Roman Historian Polybius in or around 140BC. Some of the more famous pirates of the period we are studying in this class were Anne Bonny, who began her career in the early 1700’s serving with Captain Calico Jack Rackham (criminals love interesting names). She, like Pirate Mary Read, disguised themselves as men as a practice. Black Caesar was a former Haitian slave who reputedly stashed millions of dollars worth of gold around South Florida which has not been found. Captain Kidd operated as a privateer, attacking French vessels off the coast of New England in the late 1600’s. Eventually he would be involved in attacks on ships of the French East India Company. Finally, being accused of piracy by the English East India Company he was captured and hanged.
Henry Morgan, operating in the late 1600’s, had letters of marque permitting him to attack Spanish shipping and to share his spoils with his government. He began attacking on land so he didn’t have to share and amassed a small fortune in investing in plantations and commerce. He was eventually made Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica by the crown and died, probably from the results of alcoholism, in 1688.
Very little is known personally about the most famous pirate, Blackbeard, who operated and died off the North Carolina coast in the early 1700’s. Like Jesse James of American western fact and legend we, being human, tend to glorify criminals long after they are not a threat to us and after anyone living who has a memory of the evil things they have done is dead. Pirates played no significant role in geopolitics except as a nuisance and a problem for certain governments. People like Sir Francis Drake were regarded as pirates by some countries with which they fought and heroes by the countries for whom they fought. The fact is that pirates, as a whole, were not goodhearted
humanitarians or Bible Believing Christians on a mission to evangelize the heathen but merely self serving criminals who drank the profits they made by killing not only the enemies of their country but also often innocent people just caught in their path.
Finally, Jean Laffite (Lafitte), a pirate in the Gulf of Mexico in the early 1800’s helped General Andrew Jackson defeat the British at the Battle of New Orleans.
Going back to the book by Hugh Thomas, The Slave Trade, it is stated that the British Merchants of this era were the world’s greatest and most successful slave traders. In the next century we shall see how the British government tried to destroy that trade. As a side note, the writer of the hymn, Amazing Grace, John Newton, spent part of his life before he was saved as a slave trader. The Atlantic slave trade reached its height in the 1780’s. State of the art ships hauled about 70,000 Africans per year to ports all along the coastlines of North and South America and the Caribbean. Half of those kidnapped victims were carried by ships flying the flag of Great Britain. William Pitt, the British Prime Minister in 1783, estimated that the West Indies trade, mostly dependent upon slaves, accounted for 4/5th of England’s income from overseas and therefore most of its great wealth. 2/3rd of the slaves carried to the New World were eventually used to make sugar, the most popular tropical product.
The immense wealth of the slave trade created innovative new technologies such as copper sheathed bottoms on ships that protected them from shipworm and made them sail faster which did not help the many thousands of slaves who died in transit from cramped, vermin infested conditions, poor sanitation, and even worse food.
Still, even though colonies in the New World thrived on the use of human beings as personal possessions and beasts of burden, there was a growing stir of resentment in Britain and France against the wicked practice that made Europe rich and made the American colonies of England, France, and Spain viable. With the loss of the colonies by Britain that made up the United States this outcry became even greater. While even the great Christian political thinker, Grotius, and the philosophers, Hobbes and Locke, saw slavery as containing nothing inherently immoral there was indignation first, even from the Catholic Church, about the enslavement of Indians. Captured, black Africans had been so used as slaves for so long it was accepted that their plight was to be a burden carrier for the white European.
In the next century we shall see that things change and that while some will reject slavery altogether, others will be even more attached to this pernicious hypocrisy of the “Christian” civilization of the time. It is interesting to note, that as hideous as the Atlantic slave trade was there are considered to be more slaves in the world today that at any time in history in spite of Paul’s condemnation of “menstealers” in 1 Timothy 1:10, and while the American and the Frenchman cried out for liberty, this liberty did not extend to the black African.