The Inner Life of Empires: An Eighteenth-Century History

By Emma Rothschild | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHT
OTHER PEOPLE

Elizabeth Caroline Johnstone Gray, who was John and Elizabeth Carolina's granddaughter, wrote in her Tour to the Sepulchres of Etruria, in 1839, that the history of the Etrurians was a collection of “fragments,” or “half-broken, tarnished, hideous things,” “ranged along the wall in melancholy confusion and neglect, without a place in the catalogue.” But it was also a history, in her description, of “ancient modes of thinking and acting” and of individuals who once were alive: “there they lay, not with a look of death, but as if they had a tale to tell, if there were anyone present willing to listen.”1

This, too, has been a history of fragments, which is at the same time, or so I hope, a history of the sentiments and thoughts of other times. It is an eighteenth-century sort of history, in David Hume's sense of “a cautious observation of human life,” as it appears “in the common course of the world, by men's behaviour in company, in affairs, and in their pleasures.”2 But it is also in the spirit of Adam Smith's description of the process by which individuals make their own moral lives, out of an endless exchange of observations of themselves and other people. It has been a view of the outer lives of individuals who were themselves observing the lives of others, and coming to conclusions about intentions and dispositions, who were evaluating the inner in relation to the outer, or the relationship between the inner and the outer: individuals for whom “the surface is all you've got.”3

-284-

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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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