Exploring Contexts, Marking Boundaries, Charting Parallels
By the late eighteenth-century, Britain possessed a sizeable empire in America (which it was shortly to lose), a vast territorial expansion was underway on the Indian sub-continent, and trade with West Africa and Asia was booming. This was a society characterised by burgeoning commercial interests and a quest for knowledge produced from a mix of mercantilism, gentlemanly dilettantism and growing industrial experimentation, one that looked critically at itself, as well as outwardly at global affairs, which it saw as the legitimate concern of a great civilised power. Evidence of this global purview was paraded in books, plays, engraved prints and the public spectacle of civic ceremony, military pageant and scientific experimentation; but perhaps nowhere was the complex range of that society more evident than in the flourishing popular press. In journals like The Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, parliamentary news, theatrical reviews and reports of the latest events in the American colonies jostled with advertisements for commodities such as Mr Frike’s performances on his ‘harmonic glasses’; seven Discourses delivered at the Royal Academy by Sir Joshua Reynolds; The New and Complete System of Geography by Charles Middleton; and recruitment subscriptions to the Royal Navy, army and marines from ‘such as are disposed to shew their regard for the welfare of Great Britain’.
KeywordsIndigenous People Royal Academy Explore Context Interracial Contact Market Boundary
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