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  • 1.

    “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive/But to be young was very heaven.” In The Prelude XI, 108, Wordsworth expresses his en- thusiasm for the French Revolution. Ninety nine lines later comes his disillusionment with France though not with its principles: “Frenchmen had changed a war of self-defence/For one of con- quest.”

  • 2.

    W.W. Rostow, How It All Began, Methuen, London, 1975, should be read for a number of insights.

  • 3.

    Such as soap. It has been suggested (I cannot recall by whom) that the consumption of soap is a good index of a country’s prosperity.

  • 4.

    This is perhaps an exaggeration, but James was attempting to ob- tain far more political power than the English magnates could poss- ibly be expected to concede.

  • 5.

    For this, see J.H. Plumb, The Growth of Political Stability in Eng- land 1675-1725, Penguin, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1973.

  • 6.

    Lord Falkland, most attractive of Cavaliers, in a speech to the Commons (he was a Scottish peer) in May 1641, against tampering with Episcopacy, found in draft amongst his papers after his death. There is doubt as to whether it was actually delivered. Both it and an earlier speech breathe reasonableness. For the full texts: J.A.R. Marriott, The Life and Times of Lucius Cary Viscount Falkland, Methuen, London, 1907. (For the quotation, p. 200.)

  • 7.

    Herbert Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History, Norton, New York and London, 1967. A polemic against certain historians (mostly unnamed) perceived by Butterfield as motivated to give past ideologies too much causation for present ones, particularly in

connecting Protestantism with liberty. modern thought.

Thoroughly absorbed into

  • 8.

    Milton’s Areopagitica, in Humphrey Milford, Milton’s Prose, Ox- ford University Press (The World’s Classics), London, New York, Toronto, 1942, p. 313. Milton really did believe that the Reforma- tion, amongst other desirable spiritual innovations, having been first revealed to Wycliffe, had its roots in England.

  • 9.

    Burnet, in his History of His Own Time, William Smith, London, 1838, p. 440, says he persuaded Mary to do this unambiguously, at a time when she was heiress presumptive, to strengthen her hus- band’s constitutional position should she inherit the throne.

  • 10.

    “This body bore very little resemblance to its English counterpart. Its work has not been made the subject of any authoritative modern study.” David Mathew, Scotland Under Charles I, Eyre & Spotti- swoode, London, 1955, p. 18. It was Cromwell who introduced parliamentary politics to a reluctantly grateful Scotland and after 1660 her parliament bore more resemblance to that of England.

  • 11.

    Lewis Namier, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III, Macmillan, London, 1961, p. 299. Namier turned a microscope rather than a searchlight on the politicians of this period; his method reinforces Plumb’s thesis of stability in politics, though at some time after it had been attained.

  • 12.

    This is perhaps to draw too harsh a verdict from Boswell’s reports. Johnson at Oxford suffered from chronic depression (melancholia) and poverty.

  • 13.

    “I spent fourteen months at Magdalen College; they proved the fourteen months the most idle and unprofitable of my whole life.” Gibbon, Autobiography, Dent (Everyman’s Library), London, 1911,

    • p.

      44. There follow several pages of criticism of Oxford Univer- sity.

  • 14.

    Boswell’s Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, Friday, 29th October,

      • 1773.

        However, it must be said that, from the evidence of Boswell

and from his own A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, Johnson was well treated by academics, noblemen and the Scots in general. Johnson’s general opinion of the intellectual level of Scot- tish Universities was not high: “The students, for the most part, go thither boys, and depart before they are men; they carry with them little fundamental knowledge, and therefore the superstructure can- not be lofty.” For the decrepitude of St. Andrews, see Johnson’s Journey, St. Andrews. His opinion of Scottish students follows his description of Glasgow. The many editions of Boswell’s Journal and Johnson’s Journey make it more convenient to refer to the date in the one and the place in the other for reference. Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities were, in fact, exceptions to the general aca- demic lethargy. Joseph Black (1728-1799) the Chemistry Professor at Glasgow, collaborated usefully with James Watt. According to Adam Smith the Scottish were superior to the English (Oxbridge only) Universities because their lecturers had to earn their fees competitively instead of living on endowments (Ian Simpson Ross, The Life of Adam Smith, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1995, p. 259).


  • 15.

    Adam Smith used the “invisible hand” metaphor only twice, once in The Wealth of Nations and once in The Theory of Moral Senti- ments, perhaps not appreciating how well it could catch the popular imagination. It would be a sound bite now. For citations and dis- cussions (there are too many editions of both works), J.Z. Muller, Adam Smith in His Time and Ours: Designing the Decent Society, The Free Press/Macmillan, New York, 1993, p. 86.

  • 16.

    Sourceless citation by Enfield Senior in The Oldie, Dec. 1995, p.

    • 17.

      Though I am suspicious of the attribution of this judgment to

Keynes, who is supposed to have applied it to capitalism in general, I retain it as a convenient illustration of a type of conven- tional misunderstanding of Adam Smith.

  • 17.

    For age at marriage (including Juliet’s), Peter Laslett, The World We Have Lost, Methuen, London, p. 81ff.

  • 18.

    In the last chapters of his An Essay on the Principle of Population, Reeves & Turner, London, 1872 (reprinted 1986; first edition 1798) Malthus emphasises the need to discourage marriage among the poor, pointing out that anything in the contemporary Poor Law that encouraged it only served to provide more people to starve. The fact that bastardy was kept low by social sanctions makes this a reasonable argument.

  • 19.

    Un-tracked down observation by Peter Bauer.

  • 20.

    Charles Oman, Wellington’s Army, 1809-1814, Edward Arnold, London, 1913 (reprinted 1993). Wellington was almost certainly unjust in this respect, quick to blame, slow to praise, and neglectful of commending or promoting brave and energetic officers. His army feared and respected, but did not love him.

  • 21.

    For the non-arrival of the bourgeois into power in Britain until the end of the 19th Century, and for an account of how Marx and En- gels regularly got their predictions wrong, see Richard F. Hamilton, The Bourgeois Epoch, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill and London, 1991.


Of our pre-1832 Constitution Lecky writes in 1896: “No danger was deemed greater than that it should degenerate into a system of veiled confiscation — one class voting the taxes which another

class was compelled Classics, Indianapolis,

to pay.”

Democracy and Liberty, Liberty









in many of his prognostications, amply borne century, e.g. government rentfixing — here interfering with Irish land rents.

out by events

of this


by its

  • 23.

    This Platonic Society was to have non-hereditary castes, with Guardians having no other function than running the state (Book III §415).

  • 24.

    In the Everyman’s Library translation of Carl von Clausewitz’s On War, David Campbell Publishers, London, 1993, p. 99. “War is diplomacy carried out by other means” seems to be the popular version and makes a better aphorism than Clausewitz’s subheading.

  • 25.

    It seems to be a belief within the Social Sciences that inconvenient human behaviour can be abolished by majority vote. Thus certain anthropologists issued the statement that “it is scientifically incor- rect to say that war or any other violent behaviour is genetically programmed into our human nature”. Supposedly, if enough an- thropologists agreed, this would not necessarily stop wars, but “would give us one less excuse for having them”! For an account of the bizarre episode of the “Seville Declaration”, see Robin Fox, “Anthropology’s Auto-da-Fé ” in Encounter, Sept-Oct 1989, pp. 58-64.

  • 26.

    Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1992. In Trust, ditto, 1995, the same author discusses the preconditions of “trust” that must underlie a success- ful capitalist (or indeed any other extended) society, comparing a number of cultures and subcultures. Why other cultures did not produce the original model is not discussed.

  • 27.

    For information and discussion of the cost decline of raw materials, see The Resourceful Earth, A Response to Global 2000 edited by Julian Simon and Herman Kahn, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1984; and The State of Humanity, ditto, 1995. Also for “problems” of population, food, forests, water, global warming, energy, nuclear power, the environment ...

  • 28.

    Such as legislation to keep wages too high, directly (a minimum wage, the Social Chapter of the Maastricht Treaty) or indirectly (by giving trade unions unilateral privileges and immunities), or keep unemployment benefit too high (the “poverty trap”, more correctly, the “welfare trap”). Keynes devised his system (though aware of its dangers) partly in an attempt to depress wages by inflation, since trade unions were too strong for actual cuts to be made. For this, see Richard Cockett, Thinking the Unthinkable, Harper Col- lins, London, 1994, p. 38.

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