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A Cheat, a Sharper and a Swindler

Brian Young: Warren Hastings, 24 May 2001

Dawning of the Raj: The Life and Trials of Warren Hastings 
by Jeremy Bernstein.
Aurum, 319 pp., £19.99, March 2001, 1 85410 753 4
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... it. Many nabobs had made their way into Parliament, and it was their influence which Charles James Fox and others sought to undermine when he introduced a reforming East India Bill in 1783: had Fox succeeded, the structure of Anglo-Indian relations would have been very different; that he did not succeed was, to a ...

Irish Adventurers

Janet Adam Smith, 25 June 1992

The Grand Tours of Katherine Wilmot: France 1801-3 and Russia 1805-7 
edited by Elizabeth Mavor.
Weidenfeld, 187 pp., £17.99, February 1992, 0 297 81223 8
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... met the painter David, an Englishman who had befriended Charlotte Corday at her trial, and Charles James Fox – ‘rather lourd and maladroit’. With the help of a young American, Margaret and Katherine visited Tom Paine, ‘up half a dozen flights of stairs, in a remote part of the town’, and found him making models and playing with his two adopted ...

How They Brought the Good News

Colin Kidd: Britain’s Napoleonic Wars, 20 November 2014

In These Times: Living in Britain through Napoleon’s Wars, 1793-1815 
by Jenny Uglow.
Faber, 739 pp., £25, November 2014, 978 0 571 26952 5
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... radicals. Although he belonged to a different branch of Whiggery from the more francophile Charles James Fox, Pitt too was a Whig. He never described himself as anything else, and had championed parliamentary reform during the 1780s. At Horne Tooke’s treason trial, the reformer claimed that he was only repeating what Pitt himself had said a decade ...


Seamus Perry: Ted Hughes, 29 August 2013

Poet and Critic: The Letters of Ted Hughes and Keith Sagar 
edited by Keith Sagar.
British Library, 340 pp., £25, May 2013, 978 0 7123 5862 0
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Ted and I: A Brother’s Memoir 
by Gerald Hughes.
Robson, 240 pp., £16.99, October 2012, 978 1 84954 389 7
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... own narrow escape from that devastation in a short piece of autobiography entitled ‘The Burnt Fox’, in which he remembers struggling as an undergraduate at Cambridge with a tutorial essay, part of his own incarceration within the English Tripos. Abandoning the task in despair at two in the morning, young Ted goes to bed and dreams that he is visited by ...

I met murder on the way

Colin Kidd: Castlereagh, 24 May 2012

Castlereagh: Enlightenment, War and Tyranny 
by John Bew.
Quercus, 722 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 0 85738 186 6
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... in Dublin, where Castlereagh was born, contained the classics of the commonwealth canon, including James Harrington’s Commonwealth of Oceana and the Memoirs of the regicide Edmund Ludlow. It wasn’t that Whig Presbyterians were against monarchy; rather, they argued that popular consent was the only acceptable basis for kingly government. The Presbyterianism ...

The devil has two horns

J.G.A. Pocock, 24 February 1994

The Great Melody: A Thematic Biography and Commented Anthology of Edmund Burke 
by Conor Cruise O’Brien.
Minerva, 692 pp., £8.99, September 1993, 0 7493 9721 7
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... them. These claims were kept up by Rockingham and Burke as long as the former lived, by Charles James Fox and Burke thereafter, and by Fox after his breach with Burke over the French Revolution. They always carried intimations of improper royal behaviour, and came to amount to the claim that the King should accept ...


Thomas Keymer: The Girondin Wordsworth, 18 June 2020

Radical Wordsworth: The Poet who Changed the World 
by Jonathan Bate.
William Collins, 608 pp., £25, April, 978 0 00 816742 4
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William Wordsworth: A Life 
by Stephen Gill.
Oxford, new edition, 688 pp., £25, April, 978 0 19 881711 6
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... North-West. They had been running Westmorland like a giant pocket borough since the heyday of Sir James (‘Wicked Jimmy’) Lowther, 1st earl of Lonsdale: a man Thomas De Quincey called ‘a true Feudal Chieftain’, notorious for his ‘gloomy temper and habits of oppression’. Wicked Jimmy went to a better (or worse) place in 1802, at which point the ...

When was Hippocrates?

James Romm, 22 April 2021

The Invention of Medicine 
by Robin Lane Fox.
Allen Lane, 403 pp., £25, September 2020, 978 0 241 27705 8
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... shadowy figure who was later largely credited with those foundations, or perhaps, as Robin Lane Fox suggests in The Invention of Medicine, may even have been Hippocrates himself, just as the Greeks suspected. Doctors today speak not only of a Hippocratic oath but a Hippocratic face (distorted by the approach of death), a Hippocratic bench (used for setting ...


Paul Foot: Awaiting the Truth about Hanratty, 11 December 1997

... the Criminal Cases Review Commission, will draft a public statement on the A6 murder, for which James Hanratty was hanged in 1962. The Commission chairman, Sir Frederick Crawford, has hinted to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee that the statement will be sensational. The Hanratty case has intrigued and obsessed me for almost all my adult life. In ...

A Magazine of Wisdom

Linda Colley, 4 September 1997

Edmund Burke: A Life in Caricature 
by Nicholas Robinson.
Yale, 214 pp., £30, October 1996, 0 300 06801 8
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The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke. Vol. III: Party, Parliament and the American War 1774-80 
edited by Warren Elofson and John Woods.
Oxford, 713 pp., £75, September 1996, 0 19 822414 1
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Edmund Burke and India: Political Morality and Empire 
by Frederick Whelan.
Pittsburgh, 384 pp., £39.95, December 1996, 0 8229 3927 4
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... individual in Britain; and only three other politicians, William Pitt the Younger, Charles James Fox and North, featured in prints more. Yet, as Robinson points out, before 1778 visual representations of Burke were rare: and this is suggestive. In retrospect, Burke’s speeches in the 1760s and early 1770s, warning of deteriorating British ...

Pretty Much like Ourselves

Terry Eagleton, 4 September 1997

Modern British Utopias 1700-1850 
by Gregory Claeys.
Pickering & Chatto, 4128 pp., £550, March 1997, 1 85196 319 7
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... from the one around them. In a bold-faced piece of bohemianism, the utopianists of Lady Mary Fox’s Account of an Expedition to the interior of New Holland (1837) hold casual buffets rather than dinner parties. In Sarah Scott’s A Description of Millennium Hall (1778), utopia is a country mansion in Cornwall, an anodyne English pastoral in which female ...


Hugh Honour, 13 November 1997

A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701-1800 
compiled by John Ingamells.
Yale, 1070 pp., £50, May 1997, 0 300 07165 5
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... or being pursued by Lords Cholmondeley, Coleraine and others, before she settled down with Charles James Fox. Though many, perhaps most, of the women travellers were eminently respectable, being accompanied by husbands or fathers (like Horace Walpole’s darling Mary and Agnes Berry), a surprising number went on their own. The amorous affairs of the young ...

Shorn and Slathered

Christine Smallwood: ‘Reynard the Fox’, 5 November 2015

Reynard the FoxA New Translation 
by James Simpson.
Liveright, 256 pp., £16.99, March 2015, 978 0 87140 736 8
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... The word​ for ‘fox’ in medieval France was goupil – until a set of allegorical tales about a fox called Reynard became so popular that renard started to be used instead. The characterisation of foxes as wily had already been established by Aesop, but Reynard himself first appeared in the tenth-century poem Ecbasis Captivi (‘The Escape of the Captive’), and he returned in the 12th-century Ysengrimus ...

Benevolent Mr Godwin

E.P. Thompson, 8 July 1993

Political Justice 
by William Godwin, introduced by Jonathan Wordsworth.
Woodstock, £150, November 1992, 1 85196 019 8
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The Political and Philosophical Writings of William Godwin 
edited by Mark Philp.
Pickering & Chatto, £395, March 1993, 1 85196 026 0
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Political Writings 
by Mary Wollstonecraft, edited by Janet Todd.
Pickering & Chatto, 411 pp., £39.95, March 1993, 1 85196 019 8
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Memoirs of Wollstonecraft 
by William Godwin, introduced by Jonathan Wordsworth.
Woodstock, 199 pp., £8.95, April 1993, 1 85477 125 6
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... as is evidenced by the volume of petitions and meetings against them, and it extended from Charles James Fox and the Whigs, and the intellectual Jacobins, to the popular societies. When Thelwall complained that Godwin, in renouncing all active agitation, proposed that the public mind was to be transformed ‘by writing quarto volumes, and conversing with ...
By the Banks of the Neva: Chapters from the Lives and Careers of the British in 18th-Century Russia 
by Anthony Cross.
Cambridge, 496 pp., £60, November 1996, 0 521 55293 1
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... response to a request from the Chinese Emperor for a good doctor and some aphrodisiac drugs, or Dr James ‘Rhubarb’ Mounsey, who was awarded a gold medal by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts for his efforts in acquiring and cultivating medicinal rhubarb (imported to Europe via Russia from Tibet, Mongolia and China). Cross describes the ...

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