When the Industrial Revolution began in the second half of the eighteenth century, the organisation of English industry was better prepared for an advance than that of any other European state. It is true that, as elsewhere, industrial undertakings found their freedom of movement restricted by the survival, partly in law and partly in custom, of the gild system; but much as these restrictions were opposed to the interests of large capitalist industries, they could not repress the many enterprising spirits who were eager to use to the full the new developments of trade. Long before the actual repeal of the Statute of Apprentices and other gild regulations completed the freedom of English industry, the way had become open even within the bounds of industrial capitalism for individual activity and mutual competition. In other countries the productive activities of single economic units were limited not merely by the demands of the gild system, but in the majority of cases, even after that difficulty had been overcome, by privileges, concessions, monopolies and the official regulation of capitalist manufacture, which united to make individual operations difficult and often impossible.