As Anna Letitia Barbauld composed her darkly satirical poem Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, England had been at war with France almost continuously since 1793, and the economy was in shambles as a result. Financial distress was widespread, and serious ills such as hunger were on the rise, exaggerated even further by the naval blockades against Napoleon. The king had fallen prey to dementia, leaving the country under the regency of an unpopular spendthrift voluptuary in the person of the Prince of Wales. And on top of it all, another war, this time with America, loomed ominously on the horizon. While these conditions distressed many Britons, sentiments about the country’s current military involvements were deeply divided …
Waters, Mary. "Eighteen Hundred and Eleven". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 February 2007; last revised 30 November -1.
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