By Linda Zionkowski, Cynthia Klekar
Providing a number of disciplinary views, The tradition of the present in Eighteenth-Century England analyzes the long-overlooked function of present trade in literary texts, cultural records, and financial kinfolk within the interval from 1660-1800. Contributors argue that the reward used to be instrumental to the workings of eighteenth-century society: it supported the exceptional upward thrust of charities, defined the more and more complex exchange relatives, enforced conventions of legal responsibility and social hierarchies, and either bolstered and challenged the emergence of a marketplace economy. Building upon the works of contemporary theorists, those essays supply cutting edge readings of ways present transactions formed the associations and practices that gave this period its exact identification.
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Extra info for The Culture of the Gift in Eighteenth-Century England
Locke considers that a servant freely agrees to be paid less than the amount that accords with the labor he spent on his services, even if the choice the servant has is between starving and selling his labor at a reduced rate, bordering the subsistence level. 21 Provided that for Locke the monetary value of labor underlies exchanges of property, and the receipt/payment of money signifies consent, the transactions in which the poor are involved provide only forced conditions of consent. 22 This voids the idea of consent as the basis of legitimacy for Locke; moreover, the rate at which the poor are compensated makes the consent superfluous since the transaction is covered by the right to subsistence and thus charity.
191) The focus on exchange is ubiquitous in discussions of poor relief in the early modern period, as we will see below, but Locke is unusually explicit in drawing the connection between the unpropertied individuals’ obligations to work and their rights as autonomous citizens. For Locke, once an individual’s ability to labor ceases, there is a parallel reduction in the liberty assured to them by the nation. Locke writes, That those who are not able to work at all, in corporations where there are no hospitals to receive them, be lodged three or four or more in one room, and yet more in one house, where one fire may serve, and one attendant may provide for many of them, with less charge than when they live at their own choice scatteringly.
Even the Reverend Thomas Cooke, whose published sermon of 1702 stressed that “if any will not work, neither shall he eat,” reminds his audience that “the first thing that Nature teaches us, is its own great principle of self preservation”; see Cooke, Workhouses the Best Charity, 5, 22. 33. Henry Care, English Liberties, Or, The Free-born Subject’s Inheritance, 218. See also Michael Dalton, The Country Justice, 148. 34. On the right of necessity as understood by Grotius, Pufendorf, Hobbes, Locke, and others, see Horne, Property Rights, 15–51.
The Culture of the Gift in Eighteenth-Century England by Linda Zionkowski, Cynthia Klekar