… is from page 4 of the 1983 second edition of Peter Mathias’s 1969 book, The First Industrial Nation: The Economic History of Britain 1700-1914:
Britain’s was the first industrialization of any national economy in the world. Even more remarkable, it occurred spontaneously, not being the result of conscious government policy sponsoring industrial progress. Although inevitably the results of state policy were significant in legal processes, taxation policies, tariffs, shipping regulations and the like, it derived virtually no momentum directly from public taxation, or public promotion, or state-guaranteed loans to raise capital for productive investment…. Britain saw an industrial revolution by consent. It owed nothing to planners and nothing to policemen.