Garrow’s law is set in London at the end of the 1700s. It was quite a time to be alive: the American Revolutionary War had just ended, leaving thousands of disgruntled British soldiers looking for work; the had been a revolution in France, and back in England there winds of change were starting to blow. People were starting to talk about rights, and about democracy. The movement to end slavery was getting going, women, like Mary Wollstonecraft, were asserting themselves and talking about the rights of women. And reform was in the air, people were getting frustrated with the corruption in parliament and were hungry for change.
And all this was being played out in a new public arena. There had been an explosion of newspapers and journals:
- In 1770, London has 5 daily papers;
- In the 1780s, it had 9 dailies, 8 tri-weeklys and 9 weeklys;
- In the 1790s, it had 14 dailies, 7 tri-weeklys and 2 weeklys.
But whilst there was change on one side, on the other the ruling classes were battening down the hatches and steeling themselves. They were quite with things as they were thank you very much!