In the eighteenth century the ultimate social aspiration was “nobility.” For nobility symbolized a whole set of virtues and achievements. Bearing the stamp of a knightly and chivalric tradition, this hereditary elite claimed a special status by right of the illustrious acts of its ancestors. And for those whose genealogies would not produce a crusader or a Renaissance captain, there might still be a more recent chancellor, a high magistrate, or even, if necessary, a town notable, mayor, or échevin. Despite internal jealousies, nobilities of sword, robe, and town hall were increasingly bound by common interests and even common blood.


Eighteenth Century Beautiful Woman Grand Tour Noble Family Wealthy Merchant 
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  1. 1.
    See C. E. Mingay, English Landed Society in the Eighteenth Century (London and Toronto, 1963), p. 26ff.Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    See E. Barber, The Bourgeoisie in Eighteenth Century France (Princeton, NJ., 1955)Google Scholar
  3. and F. Ford, Robe and Sword (Cambridge, Mass., 1953).Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    J. H. Plumb, Sir Robert Walpole (London, 1956 and 1960, 2 vols.), p. ix. “As I went from country-house to country-house, following Coxe’s footsteps,” writes Plumb, “I found his neat cardboard folders, often untouched since he first sorted the papers, and my admiration for his scholarly care steadily increased.”Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    Frederick A. Pottle, ed., Boswell’s London Journal (New York, 1956), Appendix I.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert
  • Elborg Forster

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