Kingdom of Great Britain | age of george iii, 1760–1820

Age of George III, 1760–1820

Victory in the Seven Years' War, 1756–1763

The Seven Years' War, which began in 1756, was the first war waged on a global scale and saw British involvement in Europe, India, North America, the Caribbean, the Philippines, and coastal Africa. The results were highly favorable for Britain, and a major disaster for France. Key decisions were largely in the hands of William Pitt the Elder. The war started poorly. Britain lost the island of Minorca in 1756, and suffered a series of defeats in North America. After years of setbacks and mediocre results, British luck turned in the "miracle year" ("Annus Mirabilis") of 1759. The British had entered the year anxious about a French invasion, but by the end of the year, they were victorious in all theatres. In the Americas, they captured Fort Ticonderoga (Carillon), drove the French out of the Ohio Country, captured Quebec City in Canada as a result of the decisive Battle of the Plains of Abraham, and captured the rich sugar island of Guadeloupe in the West Indies. In India, the John Company repulsed French forces besieging Madras. In Europe, British troops partook in a decisive Allied victory at the Battle of Minden. The victory over the French navy at the Battle of Lagos and the decisive Battle of Quiberon Bay ended threats of a French invasion, and confirmed Britain's reputation as the world's foremost naval power.[72] The Treaty of Paris of 1763 marked the high point of the First British Empire. France's future in North America ended, as New France (Quebec) came under British control. In India, the third Carnatic War had left France still in control of several small enclaves, but with military restrictions and an obligation to support the British client states, effectively leaving the future of India to Great Britain. The British victory over France in the Seven Years' War therefore left Great Britain as the world's dominant colonial power, with a bitter France thirsting for revenge.[73]

Evangelical religion and social reform

The evangelical movement inside and outside the Church of England gained strength in the late 18th and early 19th century. The movement challenged the traditional religious sensibility that emphasized a code of honor for the upper-class, and suitable behaviour for everyone else, together with faithful observances of rituals. John Wesley (1703–1791) and his followers preached revivalist religion, trying to convert individuals to a personal relationship with Christ through Bible reading, regular prayer, and especially the revival experience. Wesley himself preached 52,000 times, calling on men and women to "redeem the time" and save their souls. Wesley always operated inside the Church of England, but at his death, it set up outside institutions that became the Methodist Church.[74] It stood alongside the traditional nonconformist churches, Presbyterians, Congregationalist, Baptists, Unitarians and Quakers. The nonconformist churches, however, were less influenced by revivalism.[75]

The Church of England remained dominant, but it had a growing evangelical, revivalist faction the "Low Church". Its leaders included William Wilberforce and Hannah More. It reached the upper class through the Clapham Sect. It did not seek political reform, but rather the opportunity to save souls through political action by freeing slaves, abolishing the duel, prohibiting cruelty to children and animals, stopping gambling, avoiding frivolity on the Sabbath; they read the Bible every day. All souls were equal in God's view, but not all bodies, so evangelicals did not challenge the hierarchical structure of English society.[76]