Historical and Literary Chronology
As currently constituted, this page, taken together with the three companion pages covering the years 1625-1658, 1659-1700, and 1701-1746, represents a fairly extensive chronological account of key historical and literary events between the years 1625 and 1800. A few of the historical entries, and more of the literary ones, are "linked" to primary texts in electronic form.
Historical entries are listed, on a year-by-year basis, in a somewhat arbitrary order of "importance". Literary entries are roughly sorted in the following order:
Find the year in which you are interested in the menu below.
Table of Contents
Political and Historical Events
Literary and Cultural Events
The British score a number of naval victories over the French off the Atlantic coast of France.
Birth of Anna Seward.
Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle officially ends
the War of the Austrian Succession.
Death of James Thomson.
Birth of Charlotte Smith.
Publication of Christopher
Smart's Eternity of Supreme Being and Thomson's Poems on Several
Frederick, Prince of Wales, dies.
Birth of Richard
Brinsley Sheridan. Death of Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke.
Publication of Thomas Gray's Elegy wrote in a Country Churchyard.
Publication of Henry Fielding's Amelia, Tobias Smollett's Roderick Random, Eliza Haywood's Betsy Thoughtless, and Francis Coventry's The History of Pompey the Little.
Publication of David Hume's Enquiry concerning Principles of Morals.
The Gregorian calendar is officially introduced into England.
Birth of Frances Burney and Thomas Chatterton.
Publication of Christopher Smart's Poems on Several Occasions.
Publication of Charlotte Lennox's The Female Quixote.
Publication of Viscount Bolingbroke's Letters on the Study and Use of History, Lord Kames's Principles of Morality and Natural Religion, and David Hume's Political Discourses.
The Marriage Act (sometimes known as Lord "Hardwicke's Act") is passed, making only those marriages performed according to full Anglican rights (or by special licence) legal. Previous to this act, consent to marriage in the presence of witnesses, or the officiating of anyone in priest's orders, was all that was required to make a marriage legal. The act was designed to curb clandestine marriages, sometimes of minors, performed by sham priests for a fee in the district of the Fleet Prison (from whence these derived the name "Fleet marriages"). Marriages performed according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church or nonconformist churches remained illegal until 1837.
Births of Elizabeth Inchbald and William
Roscoe. Death of George Berkeley.
Publication of Thomas Gray's Hymn to Adversity and Christopher Smart's Hilliad.
Publication of Tobias Smollett's Ferdinand Count Fathom, and of "Volume the Last" of Sarah Fielding's David Simple. Samuel Richardson begins publication of Sir Charles Grandison, the last volume of which is published in 1754.
Publication of Jane Collier's Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting.
Publication of Charlotte Lennox's Shakespear Illustrated. Publication of William Hogarth's Analysis of Beauty.
Performance of Edward Moore's The Gamester.
Henry Pelham dies; his brother, the Duke of Newcastle, becomes Prime Minister.
Birth of George Crabbe. Death of Henry Fielding and Francis Coventry.
Publication of first volume of David Hume's History of Great Britain, the conclusion to which is published in 1763. Publication of Thomas Warton's Observations on the Faerie Queene.
French settlers are expelled from Acadia
(Nova Scotia) by the English.
Publication of fourth volume of Robert Dodsley's Collection of Poems.
Publication of the important collection of women poets, Poems by Eminent
Ladies, including poems by Aphra Behn, Mary Monck, Lady Mary Chudleigh,
Mary Barber, and many others.
Publication of Henry Fielding's Voyage to Lisbon. Publication of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary. Publication of Tobias Smollett's translation of Cervantes' Don Quixote.
Beginning of the Seven Years War, in which
Britain allies itself with Prussia against France and other continental
Birth of William Gifford and of William Godwin. Death of Eliza Haywood.
Publication of William Mason's Odes.
Publication of Joseph Warton's Essay on the Writings and Genius of Pope. Publication of Edmund Burke's Vindication of Natural Society. The Critical Review commences publication.
Performance of Samuel Foote's Englishman Returned from Paris.
Pitt the elder and Newcastle unite in a
Death of Mary Barber.
Birth of William Blake. Death of Colley Cibber. William Whitehead is named Poet Laureate.
Publication of Thomas Gray's Odes ("The Progress of Poesy" and "The Bard"), and of John Dyer's The Fleece.
Publication of Edmund Burke's Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful, and David Hume's Four Dissertations. Publication of Tobias Smollett's History of England.
Performance of John Home's Douglas.
Cape Breton Island, and its citadel, Louisburg,
falls to the British.
Death of John Dyer. Births of Allan Ramsay and Mary
Publication of volumes five and six of Robert Dodsley's Collection of Poems.
Publication of Charlotte Lennox's Henrietta.
Samuel Johnson commences The Idler, which he continues until 1760.
Performance of Robert Dodsley's Cleone.
"The Year of Victories": British
naval forces are victorious against a French fleet, intended to cover
a planned invasion of the British Isles, at Quiberon Bay, with the result
that the French plans are abandoned. Coalition forces, including the British,
defeat the French at Minden. General James Wolfe captures Quebec City
from the French on the Plains of Abraham.
Birth of Robert Burns and of Mary Wollstonecraft. Death of William Collins.
Publication of Samuel Johnson's Rasselas, and of Sarah Fielding's Countess of Dellwyn.
Publication of Oliver Goldsmith's The Present State of Polite Learning and The Bee. Publication of Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, and of Edward Young's Conjectures on Original Composition.
Performance of Charles Macklin's Love … la Mode.
March 9; Tristram writing (Tristram Shandy, Vol. I, Ch. 19).
March 26th: Tristram writing Tristram Shandy "this very rainy day" (Tristam Shandy, Vol. 1, Ch. 21).
George II dies, and is succeeded by his
grandson George III.
Birth of William Beckford.
Publication of James Macpherson's Fragments of Ancient Poetry.
Laurence Sterne publishes the first two volumes of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy.
Publication of first volumes of Tobias Smollett's Sir Launcelot Greaves. Publication of Sarah Fielding's Ophelia, and of Charles Johnstone's Chrysal, or the Adventures of a Guinea.
Publication of George Baron Lyttelton's Dialogues of the Dead. Oliver Goldsmith commences publication of The Chinese Letters, which series concludes in 1761.
Performances of George Colman's Polly Honeycombe, Samuel Foote's The Minor, and Arthur Murphy's The Way to Keep Him.
Tristram writing (Tristram Shandy, Vol. IV, Ch. 13).
Pitt the elder, his war policies rejected by the new King, resigns.
Death of Samuel Richardson.
Publication of Charles Churchill's The Rosciad.
Publication of Frances Sheridan's Sidney Bidulph.
Performance of Arthur Murphy's All in the Wrong.
August 10; Tristram writing (Tristram Shandy, Vol. V, Ch. 17).
Duke of Newcastle is driven from office by George III's favourite, Lord Bute, who becomes Prime Minister.
Birth of Joanna Baillie. Death of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.
Publication of James Macpherson's Fingal. Publication of Charles Churchill's Night, and of first three parts of The Ghost.
Publication of Lord Kames' Elements of Criticism.
Performance of William Whitehead's The School for Lovers, and of Samuel Foote's The Lyar.
The Seven Years' War ends. On the continent,
the conflict concludes with the Treaty of Hubertusburg; the Treaty of
Paris ends the colonial war, redefines European possessions around the
globe, and establishes Britain as the foremost imperial power in the world:
Britain receives Quebec, Cape Breton Island, Grenada, St. Vincent, Dominica,
Tobago, Senegal, Florida, and Minorca, as well as settling its predominance
on the Indian subcontinent.
Death of William Shenstone.
Publication of Christopher Smart's A Song to David, Charles Churchill's Prophecy of Famine, James Macpherson's Temora, and William Mason's Elegies.
Publication of Frances Brooke's Lady Julia Mandeville.
Publication of Hugh Blair's Critical Dissertation on the Poems of Ossian.
Performances of George Colman's The Deuce Is in Him, Samuel Foote's The Mayor of Garret, Arthur Murphy's The Citizen, and Frances Sheridan's The Discovery.
Wilkes is expelled from Parliament.
Birth of Ann Radcliffe. Deaths of Charles Churchill, Robert Dodsley, and
Publication of Oliver Goldsmith's The Traveller, and Charles Churchill's The Candidate. Publication of new edition of William Shenstone's poetry in Works in verse and prose.
Publication of first volume of Henry Brooke's The Fool of Quality; or, The History of Henry Earl of Moreland, complete in 1770.
Publication of Oliver Goldsmith's History of England, in a Series of Letters.
Performances of Samuel Foote's The Patron, Charles Macklin's The True-born Scotsman, and Arthur Murphy's What We Must All Come to.
The Stamp Act is introduced by Grenville's
administration, imposing a duty on legal documents and newspapers in the
American colonies in order to help finance the defence of the colonies,
and pay for the Seven Years War. The tax is immensely unpopular in the
colonies, where the right of British Parliament to impose taxes on the
colonists is questioned.
Death of Edward Young and David Mallet.
Publication of James Beattie's The Judgment of Paris. Publication of Thomas Percy's landmark collection of old ballads, Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. Publication of Swift's Works, edited by John Hawkesworth.
Publication of Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto. Publication of Samuel Johnson's edition of Shakespeare. Publication of Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England commences.
Rockingham's administration repeals the
unpopular Stamp Act, but passes a Declaratory Act, affirming the right
of Parliament to levy taxes from the colonies.
Death of Frances Sheridan.
Publication of Oliver Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield. Publication of Tobias Smollett's Travels through France and Italy.
Performance of The Clandestine Marriage, by George Colman, Senior, and David Garrick.
August 12; Tristram writing (Tristram Shandy, Vol. IX, Ch. 1).
The American Import Duties Act, steered through Parliament by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Charles Townshend, is imposed upon the American colonies: this imposes duties on lead, glass, paper, painter's colours, and tea and is bitterly opposed by the colonists.
Birth of Maria Edgeworth.
Publication of Frances Sheridan's History of Nourjahad.
Publication of Joseph Priestley's The History and Present State of Electricity.
Performances of David Garrick's Peep behind the Curtain and Arthur Murphy's The School for Guardians.
Chatham (Pitt the elder) resigns from office;
Grafton assumes full responsibilities as Prime Minister.
Death of Laurence Sterne, of Sarah Fielding, and of Joseph Spence.
Publication of Thomas Gray's Poems.
Publication of Laurence Sterne's A Sentimental Journey.
First volume of John Wilkes' English Liberty: Being a Collection of Interesting Tracts, is published (the second volume follows in 1760). Publication of James Boswell's An Account of Corsica.
Performances of Oliver Goldsmith's The Good Natur'd Man, of Arthur Murphy's Zenobia, and of Samuel Foote's The Devil upon Two Sticks.
Wilkes is expelled from Parliament for a
David Garrick organizes the successful and immensely influential "Shakespeare
Jubilee" at Stratford-on-Avon.
Publication of the first of Thomas Chatterton's "Rowley Poems," Elinoure and Juga," in Town and Country Magazine in May. Publication of Richard Hurd's Ancient and Modern Scots Songs.
Publication of Frances Brooke's Emily Montague (set in Canada), and Tobias Smollett's History of an Atom."
Publication of Oliver Goldsmith's Roman History. The first of the "Junius" letters attacking the administration of the Duke of Grafton, and possibly by Sir Philip Francis, is published in the January 21 edition of The Public Advertiser; these continue until January 21, 1772.
Performances of Richard Cumberland's The Brothers and John Home's The Fatal Discovery.
Frederick, Lord North's administration assumes power, replacing that of Grafton. In an effort to appease the colonists, North abolishes the duties under the American Import Duties Act, retaining only that on tea. Popular protests in the colonies leads to the "Boston Massacre," in which British troops are provoked into firing upon a crowd of rioters, killing five.
Birth of William Wordsworth and James Hogg. Mark Akenside dies; Thomas Chatterton
commits suicide in London.
Publication of Oliver Goldsmith's The Deserted Village.
Publication of Samuel Johnson's The False Alarm, of Edmund Burke's Thoughts on the Present Discontents, and of James Beattie's Essay on Truth.
Performance of Samuel Foote's The Tame Lover.
Spain cedes the Falklands Islands to Britain.
Birth of Sir
Walter Scott. Deaths of Thomas Gray, Tobias Smollett, and Christopher
Publication of "Book the First" of James Beattie's The Minstrel; or, The Progress of Genius.
Publication of Henry Mackenzie's The Man of Feeling and of Tobias Smollett's Humphry Clinker.
Publication of Charles Burney's Present State of Music in France and Italy, and of Oliver Goldsmith's History of England.
Performances of Richard Cumberland's The West Indian and Samuel Foote's The Maid of Bath.
Lord Mansfield, presiding over the case
of the escaped slave James Somersett, declares slavery to be illegal in
Birth of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Publication of Thomas Chatterton's The Execution of Sir Charles Bawdin, and of the first book of William Mason's The English Garden. Publication of first edition of Anna Lætitia Barbauld's Poems.
Performances of Richard Cumberland's The Fashionable Lover and of Arthur Murphy's The Grecian Daughter.
The Regulating Act is passed, which attempts
(unsuccessfully) to extend government control over the East India Company's
administration of its territories in India; it made the company-appointed
Governor General (at this time, Warren Hastings) responsible to a government-appointed
Death of Philip Dormer Stanhope, Fourth Earl of Chesterfield.
Publication of Robert Ferguson's Poems, and William Mason's An Heroic Epistle o Sir William Chambers.
Publication of Henry Mackenzie's Man of the World.
Publication of Charles Burney's Present State of Music in Germany, and of the first volume of James Burnett, Lord Monboddo's The Origin and Progress of Language (completed in 6 volumes in 1792).
Performances of Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer and Henry Mackenzie's The Prince of Tunis.
John Wilkes is once more re-elected as member
for Middlesex; Parliament relents in the face of popular opinion, and
he is allowed to resume his seat.
Birth of Robert Southey. Death of Oliver Goldsmith.
Publication of Oliver Goldsmith's Retaliation: A Poem.
Publication of Philip Dormer Stanhope, Lord Chesterfield's Letters to his Son. Publication of Samuel Johnson's The Patriot, and Goldsmith's Grecian History and History of the Earth and Nature. Publication of first volume of Thomas Warton's History of Poetry (three volumes of this were published by 1781; part of a fourth volume was published posthumously in 1824).
Performance of Hugh Kelly's The School for Wives.
The American Revolution begins with skirmishes
between British troops and colonial militia at Lexington and Concord;
this is soon followed by a more serious engagement at the Battle of Bunker
Hill, during which British forces successfully assault a fortified position
overlooking Boston, but at the cost of heavy casualties. George Washington
is appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. Revolutionary
forces invade Canada in the autumn.
Births of Jane Austen, Charles Lamb, Walter Savage Landor, and Matthew G.
Publication of George Crabbe's Inebriety.
Publication of Edmund Burke's Speech on Conciliation with the Colonies. Publication of Samuel Johnson's Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland, and his attack on the American revolutionaries, Taxation No Tyranny.
Performances of David Garrick's Bon Ton, and three plays by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The Rivals, St. Patrick's Day, and The Duenna.
Political and Historical Events
Literary and Cultural Events
The Continental Congress issues the Declaration
of Independence from Britain.
Death of David Hume.
Publication of James Beattie's Essays, Jeremy Bentham's Fragment on Government (a response to Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765-69), and Charles Burney's A General History of Music, from the Earliest Ages to the Present (in four volumes, completed in 1789). Publication of the first volume of Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (with further volumes published in 1781 and 1788). Publication of Sir John Hawkin's A General History of the Science and Practice of Music (in 5 volumes). Publication of Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (in 2 volumes).
"Gentleman" John Burgoyne's British
army is defeated at Saratoga, and surrenders to the Americans.
Death of Samuel Foote, and of Hugh Kelly.
Posthumous publication of Thomas Chatterton's pseudo-fifteenth-century forgeries, Poems, supposed to have been written at Bristol, by Thomas Rowley, collected and edited by the Chaucerian scholar Thomas Tyrwhitt, who initially believed them to be genuine. Publication of Thomas Warton's collected Poems.
Publication of Henry Mackenzie's Julia de Roubign , and of Clara Reeve's influential The Champion of Virtue. A Gothic Story, which was to be reprinted the next year with its more familiar title, The Old English Baron.
Publication of David Hume's The Life of David Hume, Esq., Written by Himself, and his Two Essays (on the subjects of suicide, and immortality). James Boswell commences his contributions of The Hypochondriack, a series of 70 essays, to The London Magazine (the series ending in 1783). Publication of Maurice Morgann's Essay on the Dramatic Character of Sir John Falstaff.
Performance of Hannah More's Percy, Arthur Murphy's Know your own Mind, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan's A Trip to Scarborough and The School for Scandal.
Encouraged by the American success at Saratoga,
France joins the war on the side of the revolutionaries.
Birth of William Hazlitt.
Publication of Frances Burney's Evelina, or, A Your Lady's Entrance into the World. Republication of Clara Reeve's The Champion of Virtue, under the title The Old English Baron.
Publication of Anna Lætitia Barbauld' three-volume Lessons for Children (completed 1779). Publication of John Nichols brief Anecdotes, Biographical and Literary, of the Late Mr. William Bowyer, a volume that was to become the foundation for his later (and very interesting) biographical collection, Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century (1782; 1812-16). Publication of Vicesimus Knox's Essays, Moral and Literary (expanded into two volumes in 1779). Publication of Percival Stockdale's An Inquiry into the Nature and Genuine Laws of Poetry.
Performances of Samuel Foote's The Nabob, and Richard Cumberland's The Battle of Hastings.
Captain Cook is killed by Hawaiian islanders.
Thomas Moore and John Galt. Death of David Garrick and William Warburton.
Publication of the collaborative volume, Olney Hymns, by William Cowper and John Newton (including "Faith's Review and Expectation," better known as "Amazing Grace")'.
Appearance of first volumes of Samuel Johnson's Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, to the Works of the English Poets (i.e., the "Lives of the Poets"), concluded in 10 volumes in 1781. Publication of Edward Gibbon's A Vindication of Some Passages in the XVth and XVIth Chapters of the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a response to published criticisms of the first volume of his grand history. Publication of David Hume's Dialogues concerning Natural Religion. Publication of first volume of James Burnett, Lord Monboddo's Antient Metaphysics, or the Science of Universals (completed in 1799 in 6 volumes).
Performance of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's "rehearsal" play, The Critic: or, a Tragedy Rehearsed.
In response to George III's handling of,
and interference in, the conduct of the Revolutionary War, John Dunning
introduces into Parliament a resolution asserting that "the influence
of the crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished."
It is passed by the House of Commons.
Death of Sir William Blackstone.
Publication of George Crabbe's The Candidate. Publication of Thomas Davies' two-volume Memoirs of Garrick, and of John Nichols' Anecdotes of Mr. Hogarth.
The British Army of General Howe surrenders
to the Americans at Yorktown, bringing the Revolutionary War, in effect,
to a conclusion with a decisive victory for the former American Colonies.
Publication of George Crabbe's
The Library, and of Anna Lætitia Barbauld's Hymns for
Lord North resigns, and Rockingham again
becomes First Lord of the Treasury. His new administration initiates peace
talks with the American revolutionaries. He dies suddenly, however, in
July, after only 5 months in office. He is succeeded by William Petty
Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of Shelburne.
Birth of Susan Ferrier. Death of Henry Home, Lord Kames.
Publication of William Cowper's Poems in 2 volumes, and of his The History of John Gilpin (in the Public Advertiser). Publication of Thomas Warton's Verses on Sir Joshua Reynolds's Painted Window at New College, Oxford, and of his prose essay, An Enquiry into the Authenticity of the Poems attributed to Rowley, which debunks the authenticity of Thomas Chatterton's Rowley forgeries. Publication of Lyric Odes to the Royal Academicians, the first appearance of the characteristic "satiric ode" form of "Peter Pindar" (John Wolcot).
Publication of Frances Burney's Cecilia, or Memoirs of an Heiress.
Publication of the second volume of Joseph Warton's An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Pope (volume one having appeared in 1759), and William Gilpin's Observations on the River Wye, and Several Parts of South Wales, etc., Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty. Publication of Joseph Priestley's An History of the Corruptions of Christianity (in 2 volumes).
The Treaty of Versailles brings the Revolutionary
War to an official end; Britain recognizes the independence of the United
States of America.
Publication of William Blake's Poetical Sketches, and of George Crabbe's
important anti-pastoral The
Village; A Poem, in Two Books.
Publication of Clara Reeve's The Two Mentors. Publication of Thomas Day's "children's book," The History of Sandford and Merton: A Work Intended for the Use of Children (in 3 volumes, completed in 1789).
Publication of James Beattie's Dissertations Moral and Critical, and of Hugh Blair's very influential and successful Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (in two volumes). Publication of William Beckford's travel diaries as Dreams, Waking Thoughts, and Incidents (subsequently suppressed by Beckford, and republished in radically revised form in 1834 as Italy: With Sketches of Spain and Portugal).
Pitt the younger introduces his own India
Act to curtail the power of the East India Company.
Birth of Leigh Hunt.
Death of Samuel Johnson and Alexander Ross.
Posthumous publication of William Collin's "An Ode on the Popular Superstitions of the Highlands of Scotland," in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Posthumous publication of Bubb Dodington's Diary, with a controversial preface by H. PenruddockWyndham. Publication of William Richardson's Anecdotes of the Russian Empire, and of his Essays on Shakespeare's Dramatic Characters of Richard III, King Lear, and Timon of Athens.
Warren Hastings quits the post of Governor General of India, returning to England amid allegations of corruption and the arbitrary exercise of illegal power.
Birth of Thomas Love Peacock, and of Thomas De Quincey. Death of William
Whitehead; Thomas Warton succeeds him as Poet Laureate.
Publication of William Cowper's The Task. Publication of George Crabbe's The Newspaper, and of the First Canto of the Lousiad (a mock-heroic account of a louse discovered by George III on his plate) by "Peter Pindar" (John Wolcot); the poem is completed in 5 cantos by 1795.
Publication of Horace Walpole's Hieroglyphic Tales. Publication of James Boswell's The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson LL.D., and posthumous publication of Johnson's Prayers and Meditations, edited by George Strahan. Publication of Clara Reeve's The Progress of Romance, a critical dialogue. Publication of Edmund Burke's Speech on the Motion made for Papers Relative to the Nabob of Arcot's Debts.
Pitt the younger establishes a new independently regulated sinking fund, into which a portion of government revenues are paid in order to reduce the national debt.
Publication of Robert Burns' Poems,
Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, and of Bozzi and Piozzi, or
the British Biographers (a satire on the rivalry between Boswell and
Hester Piozzi) by "Peter Pindar" (John Wolcot).
Publication of William Beckford's Vathek, and of Charlotte Smith's Romance of Real Life.
Publication of William Gilpin's Observations on the Mountains and Lakes of Cumberland and Westmoreland. Publication of Hester Piozzi's Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson, LL.D., during the Last Twenty Years of his Life.
William Wilberforce and other members of
the Clapham sect (a society of wealthy adherents to Anglican evangelicalism)
found the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.
Death of Robert Lowth.
Publication of Instructions to a Celebrated Laureat; alias the Progress of Curiosity; alias a Birthday Ode; alias Mr. Whitbread's Brewhouse, and of the Second Canto of the Lousiad, both by "Peter Pindar" (John Wolcot).
Publication of The Life of Samuel Johnson, by Sir John Hawkins. Publication of Mary Wollstonecraft's Thoughts on the Education of Daughters.
Performance of George Colman the Younger's Inkle and Yarico.
King George III suffers his first bout of
"madness," attributed to porphyria.
Birth of George Gordon, Lord Byron. Death of Thomas Sheridan, of Thomas
Amory, and of Charles Wesley.
Posthumous publication of William Collins' Ode on the Popular Superstitions of the Highlands of Scotland.
Publication of Charlotte Smith's Emmeline.
Publication of volumes IV, V, and VI of Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, completing the work. Publication of Hannah More's Thoughts on the Importance of the Manners of the Great. Publication of Richard Graves' Recollections of Some Particulars in the Life of the Late William Shenstone, Esq., and of Vicesimus Knox's Winter Evenings, or Lucubrations on Life and Letters.
The French Revolution breaks out. In Britain,
reaction is initially mixed, but most liberal or progressive observers
support the cause of the revolutionaries.
Death of Frances Brooke, of John Cleland, and of Sir John Hawkins.
Publication of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and The Book of Thel, and of Erasmus Darwin's The Loves of the Plants (republished in 1791 as Part II of The Botanic Garden).
Publication of Ann Radcliffe's early gothic work, The Castles of Aithlin and Dunbayne.
Publication of Jeremy Bentham's Principles of Moral and Legislation, and of William Gilpin's Observations on the Highlands of Scotland. Publication of Hester Piozzi's Observations in a Journey through France, Italy and Germany.
Lord North succeeds to the title of 2nd Earl of Guildford.
Deaths of Adam Smith and Thomas Warton.
Publication of William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and of Joanna Baillie's Fugitive Pieces.
Publication of Ann Radcliffe's A Sicilian Romance, and Charlotte Smith's Ethelinde.
Publication of Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France.
The Constitutional Act creates Upper and
Lower Canada (Ontario and Quebec respectively).
Publication of William Cowper's translations of Iliad and Odyssey.
Publication of the Third Canto of the Lousiad by "Peter Pindar" (John
Wolcot), and of Erasmus Darwin's The Botanic Garden (incorporating
as Part I his The Loves of the Plants). Publication of Anna Lætitia
Barbauld's anti-slavery work, An Epistle to William Wilberforce.
Publication of Elizabeth Inchbald's A Simple Story, of Charlotte Smith's Celestina, and of Ann Radcliffe's The Romance of the Forest.
Publication of James Boswell's Life of Johnson, and of Edmond Malone's important edition of Shakespeare. Publication of Edmund Burke's A Letter to a Member of the National Assembly, and his An Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs. Thomas Paine responds to Burke's characterizations of the French Revolution with the first part of The Rights of Man (second part published in 1792).
Thomas Hardy, a London shoemaker, founds the Corresponding Society, a radical political organization that aimed at achieving universal adult male suffrage and annual parliaments. Chapters of the organization begin to spring up all over Britain.
Birth of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Death of Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Publication of the Fourth Canto of the Lousiad by "Peter Pindar" (John Wolcot), and of Erasmus Darwin's The Economy of Vegetation. Publication of William Blake's Song of Liberty, and of Samuel Rogers' The Pleasures of Memory. Publication, in April, of William Cowper's anti-slavery poem, Sonnet to William Wilberforce, Esq., in the Northampton Mercury.
Publication of Robert Bage's Man as He Is, Thomas Holcroft's Anna St. Ives, and Charlotte Smith's Desmond.
Publication of Edmund Burke's Collected Works, and of the second part of Thomas Paine's The Rights of Man. Publication of Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women, and of William Gilpin's Essays on Picturesque Beauty. Publication of William Bligh's Voyage to the South Seas in the Bounty.
Performance of Thomas Holcroft's The Road to Ruin.
The French Revolutionary War begins with
the invasion of the Austrian Netherlands by the armies of the Republic,
and the subsequent declaration of war by France on Britain on 1 February.
The Duke of York leads a British expeditionary force into Flanders, but
it achieves little. In August, Admiral Samuel Hood occupies Toulon with
an allied force. Naval operations begin against the French West Indies.
Birth of John Clare.
Publication of William Blake's The Gates of Paradise, A Vision of the Daughters of Albion, and America. Publication of William Wordsworth's An Evening Walk, and Descriptive Sketches.
Publication of Charlotte Smith's The Old Manor House.
Publication of William Godwin's An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Political Justice. Publication of Hannah More's Village Politics, by Will Chip.
In a naval engagement that becomes known
as the "Glorious First of June," Admiral Hood defeats a French
convoy in the Mediterranean, capturing six ships and sinking a seventh.
Death of Edward Gibbon. Drury Lane Theatre is rebuilt.
Publication of William Blake's Europe, a Prophecy, The First Book of Urizen, and Songs of Innocence and Experience. Publication of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Monody on Chatterton. Publication of the Collected Works of "Peter Pindar" (John Wolcot), and of William Gifford's social satire He Baviad.
Publication of William Godwin's Caleb Williams, Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho, and Thomas Holcroft's The Banished Man.
Publication of the first part of Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason (second part published in 1795).
The Duke of York's expeditionary force is
evacuated from Bremen after an unsuccessful campaign on the continent.
Birth of John Keats and Thomas Carlyle. Death of James Boswell.
Publication of William Blake's Book of Los, Book of Ahania, and Song of Los. Publication of William Gifford's satire The Maeviad. Publication of a collected Poems by Walter Savage Landor, which was later suppressed by the author himself. Publication of the Fifth Canto of the Lousiad by "Peter Pindar" (John Wolcot).
Publication of Charlotte Smith's Montalbert.
Publication of Ann Radcliffe's travelogue A Journey through Holland and the Western Frontier of Germany. Publication of the second part of Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason. Hannah More commences publication of her Cheap Repository Tracts (to 1798).
Death of Robert Burns and James Macpherson.
Publication of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Poems on Various Subjects and Ode on the Departing Year. Publication of Robert Southey's Joan of Arc.
Publication of Matthew G. Lewis' sensational gothic novel, The Monk. Publication of Frances Burney's Camilla, Charlotte Smith's Marchmont, Robert Bage's Hempstrong, and Maria Edgeworth's work for children, The Parent's Assistant.
Publication of Edmund Burke's Letter to a Noble Lord, and first two parts of Letters on a Regicide Peace. Publication of William Cobbett's satirical character studies, Life and Adventures of Peter Porcupine. Publication of the antiquarian Joseph Strutt's Dresses and Habits of the English People commences (to 1799).
In April, the sailors of the British Channel
fleet mutiny against the terrible conditions under which they were forced
to live; most of their demands are met. As a result of this success, the
British North Sea Fleet, based at Nore in the Thames estuary, mutiny as
well. The mutineers hold out for four weeks, but this time the government
reacts with severity, and they are forced to surrender. Their leader,
Richard Parker, is subsequently hanged.
Deaths of Horace Walpole, Edmund Burke, and Mary Wollstonecraft.
Publication of Robert Southey's Poems, and a second edition of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Poems on Various Subjects, with addition of poems by Charles Lamb and Charles Lloyd. William Blake produces illustrations for Edward Young's Night Thoughts.
Publication of Ann Radcliffe's The Italian.
Publication of Edmund Burke's Thoughts on French Affairs, the third Letter on a Regicide Peace, and Letter on Affairs in Ireland. Publication of Robert Southey's Letters Written in Spain and Portugal, and of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, edited by Edmond Malone.
A serious rebellion breaks out in Ireland
as republican forces, led by the Society of United Irishmen, look to France
for aid. Threatened by government informers, the rebels choose not to
await a planned French invasion of Ireland, but rise in May, largely in
Ulster and Wexford. The rebellion is crushed before French help arrives.
Joint publication of Lyrical Ballads, by William Wordsworth and Samuel
Taylor Coleridge; Coleridge additionally publishes Fears in Solitude,
an Ode, and Frost
at Midnight. Publication of William Cowper's On
the Receipt of My Mother's Picture, and The Dog and the Water-lily.
Publication of the collaborative volume Blank Verse, by Charles Lloyd
and Charles Lamb. Publication of volume 1 of Joanna Baillie's Plays on
the Passions (volume 2 published in 1802, and volume 3 in 1812). Publication
of Robert Southey's "The
Battle of Blenheim," in The Morning Post (9 August) and
Well of St. Keyne," in The Morning Post (3 December).
Publication of Charlotte Smith's The Young Philosopher, Charles Lamb's The Tale of Rosamund Gray, and Charles Lloyd's satire on S. T. Coleridge, Edmund Oliver.
Publication of Thomas Malthus' Principles of Population and William Coxe's Memoirs of Sir Robert Walpole. Publication of William Godwin's Memoirs of Mary Wollstonecraft, and William Gilpin's Picturesque Remarks on the West of England. Publication of Practical Education, edited by Maria Edgeworth and her father.
In October, an allied invasion of Holland
fails. The allies, however, score some successes in the Italian campaign
against the French.
Publication of Matthew G. Lewis' verse collection Tales of Terror.
Publication of Robert Southey's "The
Old Man's Complaints. And How He Gained Them," in The Morning
Post (17 January) and "God's
Judgment on a Wicked Bishop," in The Morning Post (27 November).
Publication of William Godwin's St. Leon.
Performance of Matthew G. Lewis' The East Indian (a comedy).
In response to the rebellion of 1798, Pitt
the younger introduces the Act of Union, uniting Ireland with England
and Scotland. The act passes, and comes into effect the following year.
Deaths of William Cowper, Hugh Blair, Mary
Robinson, and Joseph Warton.
Republication of Lyrical Ballads, by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, with revised preface. Publication of Coleridge's Poems, and of William Gifford's Epistle to Peter Pindar.
Publication of Maria Edgeworth's Irish satire, Castle Rackrent.
Publication of Charles Dibdin's History of the English Stage.
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