By E P Thompson

Customs in universal is the outstanding better half to E. P. Thompson's landmark quantity of social historical past The Making of the English operating type. The manufactured from years of study and debate, Customs in universal describes the complicated tradition from which working-class associations emerged in England--a panoply of traditions and customs that the recent operating category fought to maintain good into Victorian instances.

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40, (1 980) - the rediscovery of the "collage economy" and of an English peasantry - see David Levine, Reproducing Families (Cambridge, 1987) and below p. 176 and the whole body of work and discussion around "proto­ industrialization" have all served to emphasise the substantial and growing sector of the eighteenth�cenlury economy independent of gentry control. 1 J. Mathews, Remarks on the Cause and Progress Of {he Scarcity and Dearness a/Callie (1797), p. 33. - PATRICIANS A 0 PLEBS 41 gel her from some sketchy tenure of the land.

A plebs is not, perhaps, a working class. The plebs may lack a consistency of self-definition, in consciousness; clarity of objectives; the structuring of class organization. But the political presence of the plebs, or "mob", or "crowd", is manifest; it impinged upon high politics at a score of critical occasions - Sacheverell riots, excise agitation, cider tax, the patriotic and chauvinistic ebullitions which supported the career of the older Pitt, and on to Wilkes and the Gordon Riots and beyond.

307. 1 I Defoe, op. , p. 62. 54 CUSTOMS I PATRICIANS AND PLEBS COMfvl0N work in Halifax above fifty years past. '" We are more accustomed to analyse the age in terms of its intellectual history, and to think of the decline of hell. But the breaking loose of this hell of a plebeian culture quite beyond their control was the waking nightmare of surviving Puritans such as Heywood and Baxter. Pagan festivals which the Church had attached to its calendar in the middle ages (although with incomplete success) reverted to purely secular festivities in the eighteenth ccntury.

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