"Give us our eleven days!: calendar reform in eighteenth century England

Poole, Robert ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9613-6401 (1995) "Give us our eleven days!: calendar reform in eighteenth century England. Past and Present, 149 (1). pp. 95-139.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/past/149.1.95


For generations, there has been no better illustration of the collective idiocy of the crowd than the story of the English calendar riots of 1752. At the trial of Henry Hunt and others for treason in 1820, James Scarlett, the prosecuting counsel, had this to say: 'The ridiculous folly of a mob had been exemplified in a most humorous manner by that eminent painter, Mr. Hogarth. It was found necessary many years ago, in order to prevent a confusion in the reckoning of time, to knock eleven days out of the calendar, and it was supposed by ignorant persons that the legislature had actually deprived them of eleven days of their existence. This ridiculous idea was finely exposed in Mr. Hogarth's picture, where the mob were painted throwing up their hats, and crying out "Give us back our eleven days". Thus it was at the present time; that many individuals, who could not distinguish words from things, were making an outcry for that of which they could not well explain the nature.' Curiously enough, the extensive literature on eighteenth-century riot has yielded not one study of this most famous of episodes. Furthermore, amidst much debate about time-awareness in the same period, the calendar has received little direct attention. This article aims to address both these areas.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Past and Present
Publisher: Oxford University Press for Past and Present Society
ISSN: 1477-464X
Departments: Academic Departments > Institute of Arts (IOA) > Humanities
Depositing User: Insight Administrator
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2010 11:39
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2024 17:31
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/684


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