1776 : A London Chronicle, Or How to Divert Oneself While Losing an Empire
`I can hardly believe, by the tranquillity of every thing about me, that we are a people who have just lost an empire. But it is so.' So wrote Edmund Burke on 30th May 1776. In the city about him duels, elopements, plays, highway robberies, masquerades and daily life continued much as usual while across the Atlantic cities burned and muskets blazed as the political order of the world was recast.
Much has been written about events in America at this time, but what was it like to be living in London? This book seeks to answer that question by way of a daily chronicle in which the year's stories emerge through diaries, letters, newspaper reports, and a wealth of previously unpublished material, from state papers to Edward Gibbon's pocket-book. Among notable events were the trial of the Duchess of Kingston for bigamy, David Garrick's farewell to the stage, Captain Cook's setting out on his final voyage, and publication of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations. These unfold alongside a host of forgotten stories, characters and incidents to create a revealing portrait of London in a momentous year.