“There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness”

It is interesting to note that Martineau, much like Carlyle, uses the symbolism of clothes and livery to help establish their points about those with power and those without. Martineau mentions that the “kings of Europe” would have found it amusing to have commoners “without robes, crown, or sceptre, stepping into the throne of a strong nation” (Martineau ¶ 22). She also mentions how “images of women on wool-sacks” are used as if to mock how women express their power and interests. Clearly, while the textile industries were the industrial push that launched Britain into becoming a commercial powerhouse, the idea of them as connected to the actual state of the Empire was somewhat… shameful? It seems as though Carlyle’s clothes metaphor, where social order is like a suit that needs to be refitted every once in a while, extended beyond his own personal thoughts. Martineau’s mentioning of textiles is purely in a have/have not sense, where the royals have the robes crown and sceptre and the women have nothing but woolen sacks. Common clothes were shameful, fine clothes were a blessing.

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