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The Useful Knowledge of William HuttonCulture and Industry in Eighteenth-Century Birmingham$
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Susan E. Whyman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198797838

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198797838.001.0001

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Hutton Rises in the World

Hutton Rises in the World

Attitudes to Land, Trade, Money, and Religion

(p.84) 4 Hutton Rises in the World
The Useful Knowledge of William Hutton

Susan E. Whyman

Oxford University Press

Hutton’s business success and social mobility are viewed in the context of Birmingham’s industrial development, a booming land market, the lack of government regulation, and the diversity of religious practice. This chapter reveals the economic framework that allowed Hutton to amass wealth. Once he settled in Birmingham, he found new ways to develop business skills and make money. Early failure stiffened his resolve, taught him lessons, and led him to focus on selling paper, instead of books. Convinced of the future value of land, he made risky speculations and accumulated large debts. A case study compares Hutton’s response to the Industrial Revolution with that of his sister, Catherine Perkins. Hutton devoted all his energies to making money and buying estates. His sister found greater happiness in her religious faith and charity. Their opposing views about land, trade, money, and religion reveal a spectrum of personal responses to rapid economic change.

Keywords:   Industrial Revolution, economic growth, Catherine Hutton Perkins, Joseph Ryder, land speculation, capitalism, religion and business, paper selling, entrepreneurship, money

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