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Chapter 9 - ‘Not Men, But Measures’: John Brown on Free Government without Faction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 January 2021

Max Skjönsberg
Affiliation:
University of Liverpool
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Summary

An Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times (2 vols., 1757–8) by John Brown (1715–66) has rarely been studied in depth by intellectual historians, incongruent to its own initial popularity at publication. The Estimate was written in a declinist voice, following hard on the heels of Britain’s defeat by France at the Battle of Minorca in 1756. Brown was convinced that Britain’s initial bad fortunes in war against France were related to a general decline in manners and principles, exemplified by the spirit of party. Even more understudied is Brown’s final contribution on the subject: his Thoughts on Civil Liberty: On Licentiousness and Faction, published in 1765, one year before he committed suicide. In this work, Brown tried to do what many political writers, including the principal ones discussed in this book, had held to be impossible: to demonstrate how a free state could exist without the internal conflict exemplified by party.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Persistence of Party
Ideas of Harmonious Discord in Eighteenth-Century Britain
, pp. 214 - 237
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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