BEFORE 1789 the channels of communication with France were open and the remarkable French intellectual achievements of the second half of the century gained the respect of many Englishmen. Montesquieu produced the Spirit of the Laws in 1743; Buffon wrote many of his forty-four volumes on Natural History between 1749 and 1789; Diderot and d’Alembert between 1751 and 1772 produced the thirty-five volumes of the Encyclopedia, which drew together so many radical contributors of great distinction. Voltaire wrote for nearly sixty years of the century and prized his English associations highly. Rousseau, who also came to England for a while, had many English acquaintances and admirers. Émile and The Social Contract were published in 1762, and La Chalotais produced his Essay on National Education in 1763. It is little wonder that French political and educational ideas were greatly esteemed by many of the intellectual and literary radicals in England in the second half of the century, despite the wars of the period. Wordsworth, Coleridge, Lamb, Hazlitt, Day, Edge-worth, Williams, Priestley, Percival, Erasmus Darwin, Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, are among those who were Francophiles and at first supporters of the French Revolution. However, the Reign of Terror, the Directory, and the rise to power of Napoleon turned nearly all of them against France, and the ensuing twenty years of war in Europe cut them off from the Continent. Yet the faith in social progress and individual rights that the Enlightenment seemed to presage were still the guiding lights for the English radicals whatever the political realities of the Revolution.
KeywordsPoor Child Educational Innovation Literary Radical English Radical Educational Work
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.