The Inner Life of Empires: An Eighteenth-Century History

By Emma Rothschild | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
HISTORIES OF SENTIMENTS

The history of the Johnstones has been a series of scenes or episodes in an unsettled world. It has been concerned with events in the early British empire, and in the eighteenth-century enlightenment. But it is also a history of the public and private lives of a number of individuals, who were connected to each other through a single extended family; of how they described the experiences of empire; and of how they were described. Even Bell or Belinda, in the courtroom in Perth, described her own state of mind: “she is certain she will be found altogether Innocent of the actuall murder,” in the formal speech of the lawyers to whom she had applied for assistance with her trial; and, in the reported speech of the Caledonian Mercury, “she was conscious no actual murder could be proved against her.”1


THE EYE OF THE MIND

The experience of the inner life was a continuing preoccupation, in the Johnstones’ unsettled existence. Their ideas of inwardness and outwardness, like their ideas of empire, or of the economy, or of the history of the human mind, were in f ux, like so much else in their lives; they were not the same over time, or the same as our ideas. “I know by Experience how much the Mind preys on the Body,” James wrote to John in the winter of 1771, while Bell or Belinda was in prison in Scotland, and for the Johnstones, as for everyone else in their own

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The Inner Life of Empires: An Eighteenth-Century History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • To Victoria v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction - Ideas and Sentiments 1
  • Chapter One - Setting out 11
  • Chapter Two - Coming Home 59
  • Chapter Three - Ending and Loss 97
  • Chapter Four - Economic Lives 121
  • Chapter Five - Experiences of Empire 154
  • Chapter Six - What Is Enlightenment? 210
  • Chapter Seven - Histories of Sentiments 263
  • Chapter Eight - Other People 284
  • Acknowledgments 303
  • Appendix - Children of James Johnstone and Barbara Murray 307
  • Abbreviations 309
  • Notes 311
  • Index 469
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