chapter  4
43 Pages

Economic life

In international trade, as in every other aspect of economic life, development was more rapid during this period in some western areas than in other parts of the continent. Foreign trade was still, for most countries, much less important than it was to become in the generations which followed the Industrial Revolution. The geographical pattern of French trade with the other European states was very different from the British one. With the Baltic France never traded directly on a large scale during the eighteenth century. In the Mediterranean Venice, formerly so important in the commercial life of Europe, was now sinking into irreparable decay. In Russia, the supreme example, economic growth meant that while at the beginning of the century there were about 60,000 men employed on the country's internal waterways there were about 220,000 in the 1790s. Land communications so difficult and expensive hampered economic life in several important ways.