History from 1756 to 1815

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      William Pitt was a fascinating personality; in some ways a more impressive minister than Winston Churchill. Pitt was considered a brilliant leader in wartime, but lacked patience for peacetime statesmanship. A minister empowered by the common man, he probably made a tactical error when he became the Earl of Chatham, an honor bestowed by King George III. The common man never quite forgave him for elevating himself above them.

     The Seven Years War, lasting between 1756 and 1763, was the struggle for dominion on several continents of Prussia and Britain against France, in alliance with Austria and Russia. Admiral Hawke was awarded a huge stipend, by 1759 standards, for his brilliant plan at the Battle of Quiberon Bay.
     In 1760 England was beginning to enter a new era, in which fastidiousness and concern for health was to dominate how both the poor and the ill were treated. Sweeping changes in the poor laws were not implemented until the nineteenth century, but in the 1700s there existed people who fought for social reform.
     Whenever we are tempted to think that the 20th century is traumatic and tumultuous, we should remember the latter half of the 1700s. In 1756 the Seven Years War began; in 1775 the Battle of Lexington heralded the American Revolution. In 1789 the Bastille was stormed—the French Revolution had begun.
     The preliminary peace between Britain and France, the London Treaty, was signed on October 1, 1801. It was a prelude to the more formal Treaty of Amiens signed on March 25, 1802. It lasted less than a year. War between Britain and France resumed in May 1803 and continued until the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815.