Eighteenth-century Britain experienced a rapid expansion of commerce, with the growth of colonies, the spread of Empire and British domination of the trade in African slaves. 'There was never from the earliest ages,' Samuel Johnson wrote, 'a time in which trade so much engaged the attention of mankind, or commercial gain was sought with such general emulation.'' One writer in the Craftsman of 1735 described the 'Torrent of Riches, which has been breaking in upon us, for an Age or two past'. 2 John Brown wrote of 'The Spirit of Commerce, now predominant',' and Revd. Catcott preached breathlessly on the commercial supremacy of Britain:
Dabydeen, David, Commerce and slavery in eighteenth century literature, Kunapipi, 5(2), 1983.