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SEL 40, 3 (Summer 2000) April London ISSN 0039-3657

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Clock Time and Utopia’s Time in Novels of the 1790s
APRIL LONDON

In his Sober Reflections on the Seditious and Inflammatory Letter of the Right Hon. Edmund Burke, To a Noble Lord (1796), the radical John Thelwall argues that the integrity of the principles of “equal rights, and equal laws” must be respected despite the “[e]xcesses and cruelties” of the Terror: “Is time unsteady, because my watch goes wrong? Is it not noon when the sun is in the meridian, because the parish dial is out of repair? Can principles, which are the sun of the intellectual universe, be changed in their nature or their course by the vile actions of a few ruffians?”1 Thelwall’s privileging of a naturally replete order of time over its artificial measure is not simply an occasional, if ingenious, metaphor.2 For him, as for many radical writers of the period, natural and mechanical time had significant narrative correlatives. The “only means” of securing a future of exactly equal conditions, they believed, was through a “revolution of opinions” that would effect a comprehensive shift of consciousness.3 Literary forms with the expressive power to make principles appear as constant and self-evident as ‘steady’ time or the meridian sun would contribute to the achievement of this goal. A radically different future would be made possible by present assertions of transcendent principles. For numbers of late-eighteenth-century authors, utopian writing appeared the best qualified to elide present and future, to anticipate that “renovation of the natural order of things,” Thomas Paine’s “counter-revolution,” that would restore individuals’ inherent rights.4 The propaganda wars of the period, however, ensured that the tropes of radical utopianism would in turn be appropriated by loyalist writers who adapted them to contrary ends. One effect of this engagement across the political spectrum with the possibilities of alternate social orders and reconstructed individual rights was a significant extension of the genre’s scope. As traditional conApril London, Professor of English at the University of Ottawa in Canada, has recently published Women and Property in the Eighteenth-Century English Novel.

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Novels of the 1790s

templative definitions came under increasing pressure from the contrary forces of a radical commitment to change and a reactionary anti-Jacobinism, utopias both enlarged their discursive range and actively petitioned readers’ sensibilities. The appeal to meditative detachment evident in James Burgh’s midcentury version of utopia as “what a good man would wish a nation to be, than the true account of the state of one really existing” was less often issued, and readers were instead invited to enact the new possibilities for individual and political virtue that texts such as Thomas Northmore’s Memoirs of Planetes make the natural consequence of repudiating the determining influence of the past.5 As utopias began to relate such questions of inwardness and history to imagined social structures, neighboring genres (the novel and political disquisition most especially) in turn absorb utopian elements. These migrations across generic boundaries tend to follow paths determined by authorial politics. Radicals pursue their arguments with both history and historiography through romances, political inquiries, and novels that challenge the rule of property as the foundation of civil society.6 Conservative polemicists, in treatises such as Robert Bisset’s Sketch of Democracy and romans à clef like Elizabeth Hamilton’s Memoirs of Modern Philosophers, counter with satires that argue from “the testimony of history, and the experience of human nature” the importance of social continuity.7 These generic transformations and exchanges at once confirm the potential agency literature exercises in the realm of politics and confute the view of utopia as an essentially academic genre whose social force is limited by the “recognition [on the reader’s part] that, in terms of practical results, these visions have been powerless and ineffectual.”8 In the late eighteenth century, such readerly skepticism about utopia’s efficacy was clearly suspended. The symmetry between established conventions of utopian representation and radical tenets—the plain style, the opposition to nationalism, the faith in reason and in the perfectibility of human nature—afford one explanation for the genre’s resurgence (and provide the contexts for conservative deconstruction).9 Paul Alkon and Darko Suvin have suggested that a literary climate of formal experimentation and larger cultural changes in the perception of time encouraged by the new geology, theories of biblical evolution, and the emergent industrial revolution were also determining influences.10 My interest here, however, is less with the formal utopias that have been the primary focus of critical attention; I want instead to consider the significant number of late-century novels that incorporate utopian episodes into works otherwise shaped by realist conventions.11 These texts range across the political spectrum and vary accordingly in their prescriptions: from defending the present constitution of things (Dorothea;

these fictions stake an active claim to participation in what Thelwall described as this “busy. In fact. and F. recognition of normative features makes apparent the significant continuities between representations of time and history in the 1790s and in early-nineteenth-century fiction. to political disquisition. Clara Reeve’s Plans of Education. literary. through suggestions for amendments to the present order (Berkeley Hall. to interrogations of historical method.April London 541 or A Ray of the New Light. Newton. But first. the frequent use of utopian themes and devices in late-eighteenthcentury fiction plays an important role in the early-nineteenth-century formation of both the historical novel and the national tale. the disputatiousness of the age depended on an active readerly engagement with a much-expanded and unsettled literary domain. Hamilton’s Memoirs of Modern Philosophers). George Cumberland’s Captive of the Castle of Sennaar. it is corruption and desperation only that . than simply give us a fuller sense of the distinctiveness of the period. In this instance. I will consider Northmore’s Memoirs of Planetes. But let us allow them the use of this favourite weapon. or a Sketch of the Laws and Manners of Makar (1795). The Pupil of Experience. In their slippages from novelistic development of plot and character. C. in order to place these hybrid fictions. disputatious age.”12 Their utopian interludes appear in this context as highly specialized examples of a late-eighteenth-century generic indeterminacy that licensed fiction’s exercising of genuine authority in the formation of public opinion. or. as I will argue in the final section of this paper. however. Enlarging the definition of utopian literature to include these hybrid texts does more. the narrator declares that his text will “prepare the minds of men” for the government best “calculated to ensure the happiness of mankind” despite resistance from those who “brand [him] with the titles of visionary and theorist. Patrick’s The Irish Heiress). I In the opening address to the reader of Northmore’s Memoirs of Planetes. a text that exemplifies formal utopias in its pursuit of social analysis by way of a critique of language practices and of contemporary historiography. Is theory to be despised because not immediately reducible to practice? Reason. to arguments for substantial change (Henry Willoughby).13 The modern tendency to read the brief efflorescence of utopian writing in the 1790s as completely tied to specific political conditions has fostered the misconception that nothing of lasting narrative significance could have survived the revolutionary decade. and philosophy answer in the negative. As Thelwall’s phrase suggests.

(Conversely. and specific social programs of writers such as Godwin.17 The Memoirs of Planetes thus typically draws on the ideas. The entry into the imagined culture of Makar by way of an accident that takes the travelers off course is entirely conventional. The Makarians’ commitment to “[p]lain simple facts. I wish our tardy Europeans would do likewise. Paine. and Thomas Holcroft.)18 As in many radical texts.542 Novels of the 1790s vociferate the affirmative. narrative techniques. As the experience of the colonized peoples and of Planetes himself confirms. that traffics with us. this potential identification of the visionary and the theoretical with utopian writing is realized in terms that overtly politicize many of the standard features of the genre.19 When Planetes queries the bilingualism of the Makarian colonists. acting on the conviction that it “was impossible for the world to become generally ignorant again.” Northmore grafts onto the customary plot device arguments drawn directly from treatises such as William Godwin’s Enquiry concerning Political Justice and Its Influence on Morals and Happiness.”20 Here and throughout the Memoirs of Planetes. the advocacy here of unrestricted access to knowledge shades into an argument for a standard language that effectively translates the impulse toward uniformity central to late-century imperialism into the sphere of learning. said I. the guide figure Othono informs him that “every nation. and indeed it is now become a sort of universal language. whether black or white. cross-generic quotation became normative.” exploit “that happy invention” to make political theory accessible by integrating it with fiction. so as to render them easy to be comprehended by every sane and thinking being. drawing the reader’s attention to the ease with which “tardy Europeans” could enter into a more rewarding present by adopting the radical program.15 The logic of such intertextuality is elaborated in the work’s ongoing concern with issues relating to language. as radical writers. We are always complaining of the want of an universal medium. reformation is ideally a process as pain- . the Makarians reject the “superfluous argument” and “flowers of rhetorick” that Burke’s opponents deemed his stylistic signature. as it was before the art of printing. Planetes mediates between his own culture’s deficiencies and Makarian achievements. A most excellent institution. for instance. but have not spirit enough to put it into execution.”14 Throughout the Memoirs of Planetes.”16 In the service of this ideal. But in using the separation of the narrator Planetes and his companion Lawrence from their shipmates as the occasion for disquisitions on prison reform and the need to listen to the “complaints of the lower classes of people. brings up some if not all of its children to speak the Makar tongue with its own. and energetic reasoning” in their “literary works” aligns them with what Mary Wollstonecraft regards as the radical mandate to “simplif[y] the principles of social union.

nor ought we to repine at this. if you have not yet made such progress in civilization as the Makarians. endeavour thereby to remedy its defects and increase its welfare. in the careful layering of utopian and actual societies that this work establishes.26 .”24 The past system of Makarian tyranny. corresponds to the present state of England. it must be a work of time.”22 Othono’s words speak reassuringly to the ease with which the exceptional becomes normative.April London 543 less as learning a new language and as “natural” as adjusting social structures to fit contemporary concerns. Planetes’ assiduous efforts to acquire a “decent vocabulary” are directed by his sense that “the knowledge of that government from which such innumerable blessings could be derived.23 That orientation seems. The conversational mode provides an appropriately dialogic model for conveying this sense of the variability of political experience. in turn. related to a more deeply historicized understanding of politics than formerly encountered in works of this genre. Since then all governments are more or less imperfect. and have not been acquired without tumult. you should recollect that we are not arrived at perfection. to build an edifice that will last for ages.”21 Othono agrees but sounds a warning note about the impermanence even of achieved perfection: “They are blessings indeed . Euthus presents an evolutionary model of social development that tacitly answers the charges leveled by the anti-Jacobins of a radical inattention to historical precedent: Be under no fear. but we have now enjoyed them for so many years that the people think not of their value. was of more value in my estimation than all the riches in the world. But they also voice a complex awareness of the dangers of complacency that is consistent with the orientation toward individual sensibilities so distinctively a feature of 1790s utopias. and by applying them to our own country. Since Planetes “knew almost from [his] first arrival that the Makarians were nearly a century before us in civilization. young man. In reassuring him. but have several links in the great chain of human happiness to fill up.”25 he is reluctant to fulfill his interlocutor’s request for a full account of English society. an issue of considerable moment to the English given the disruptive force of the Terror in France. . . it is our duty to glean the virtues of each. a “great actor in the Revolution” who had once contributed to “the extirpation of a system of tyranny. as Planetes confers with Euthus. nothing is stable that does not approach gradually to its consummation.

which was apt to breed intestine commotions. ‘never entirely nor at once to depart from antiquity. Ultimately the Makarian conflict. he tells Planetes. however. Northmore annotates this comment with a quotation from the 1779 Encyclopedia Britannica: “Some of my readers may be surprised to hear that this ‘was the dying injunction of Henry IV. determined that constant warfare provided the most efficient means of subduing the populace. in fact. Euthus’s adaptation of the “chain of human happiness” as a metaphor for the continuity between past and present is contrasted with the terms of classical historiography that structure his description of prerevolutionary Makar (the state that resembles present-day England). Conditions within contemporary Makar. but to employ them in foreign expeditions. never to let the English people remain long in peace. But in making it descriptive of a projected. In the context of a utopian text designed to serve as just this sort of “timely” warning to the English government. Northmore converts the Augustan hierarchical model into a dynamic and generative one. Euthus recounts. The old Makarian kings.27 From Euthus’s point of view. began with an alteration in the climate of public opinion as “several patriotic writers of abilities and virtues” started “freely to discuss the subject of government in general” (p. In the relation of text to commentary. Since “it had ever been a favourite maxim with me. that by timely reformation they might have prevented it” (p. utopian state. by which the prince might acquire honour. and all the restless spirits find occupation for their inquietude’” (p. the nobility in sharing his dangers might attach themselves to his person. demand a different narrative. 172). the two Henrys are used to mark the beginning of a chronologically organized political history that extends from the fifteenth century through actual present-day England to imagined prerevolutionary Makar. 167). The eclipse of the old Makarian order. one whose meanings are best understood as a displaced version of the English revolutionary debate of the 1790s. is resolved through debate. He advised his son. as the citizens meet to consider the relative merits of a lim- . He also counters the charges of anti-Jacobin writers such as Thomas Mathias and Bisset that the radicals cannot make use of the inductive method of writing history because they do not conceive of the past as a connected narrative. his failure to halt the call to arms gives the imminent threat of revolutionary violence additional weight. however. 168).544 Novels of the 1790s The metaphor of links in the great chain gestures toward the very traditional figure for reciprocal order articulated in Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man. meditation on the past allows social construction to be a “work of time” that is both continuous and organically coherent.’” he had attempted without success to give those in power “every possible warning of its [an armed insurrection’s] approach.

triumphs over that afforded by classical historiography. The anti-Jacobins forgo this conversational mode for the more direct assaults of parody. The first volume of Henry Willoughby traces the subjugation of the orphaned hero by the religious. While the radicals share this strategy with the antiJacobins (who deploy it to great effect throughout the 1790s propaganda wars). 177).April London 545 ited monarchy and a representative republic. legal. whose misconstructions of Godwinian doctrine in Hamilton’s Memoirs of Modern Philosophers link radicalism with female imbecility. with its plots of “[c]onquest and tyranny” detailing the “government of the sword” and imposing the “authority of the dead over the rights and freedom of the living. Radical texts tend to stage their diminishment of the conservatives through carefully orchestrated conversations in which their opponents voice opinions which are then logically disassembled in order to forward the revolutionary alternatives. who had no other object in view than to work upon the passions of the people. issues of individual character are central to the author’s attempt to argue from a particular case the prospects of social happiness. and thereby make them a stepladder to their own exaltation” (p. In a typical formal utopia such as Northmore’s Memoirs. embodying the conservative position in the villain Coke Clifton in order by argument to discredit it. A Novel (1798). for example. Holcroft’s Anna St. In the anonymous Henry Willoughby.28 But the republican defense triumphs because of the ease with which its proponents dismantle each of the arguments advanced by the conservatives. The advocates of the former support the argument for its utility by drawing on the anti-Jacobin pathologizing of radicals. 173).30 While there are significant family resemblances in the narrative strategies adapted by both fictional and nonfictional radical texts.”29 The formal defense of the radical program in the Memoirs closely resembles that pursued in contemporary fiction. Ives. The narrative model of negotiated public opinion. novelistic representations display a specific interest in questions of inwardness. the alignments of style and politics differ. and military tyrannies of . as evidenced in the characterization of Bridgetina Botherim. uses a similar technique of diminishment by appropriation. in contrast. proving finally that the best governments contribute to their own dissolution by encouraging the innate “perfectibility of man” in the unregulated and “perpetual practice of justice and truth” (p. linguistic. inwardness is principally of issue as it relates to a people’s historical memory. in other words. including the often repeated accusation that they are simply “artful and designing men. as in Euthus’s lament over the Makarians’ disregard for the lessons they should have retained from the prerevolutionary period.

The orientation of learning toward the collective good leads them to privilege the insights garnered from the “philosophers of past ages”. Henry learns the alternative to “things as they are” as Monthermer describes “Anachoropolis. convinced by this account to “bid adieu to distress and despair. Mr. As in Godwin’s Caleb Williams (1794). but also a release into genuine self-knowledge with the prospect of continued amelioration. Vaillant’s narrative of the “Gonoquais horde” is read out to an enraptured audience of would-be revolutionaries whose interjected comments impress on the reader how entirely the radicals’ responses are shaped not by . for instance. Anachoropolis will provide not only an escape from the historical certainty of political injustice. institutional affiliation becomes a mark of corruption. hack writers. From a fellow sufferer with whom he was once press-ganged. by encouraging the “utmost latitude of scepticism” (2:238). supplies only monitory instances of the “vices and luxuries of Europe” (2:268). by enacting a “systematical course of education” (2:246).”31 This Mississippi settlement fulfills Godwin’s vision in Political Justice of a perfect future order: in the absence of private property.” in contrast. thieves.” the antidote to theoretical speculation. or the town of retirement. they enable all citizens to “appl[y their] knowledge to the advantage of the community” (2:270).546 Novels of the 1790s the propertied. while those of marginal status (smugglers. Henry. In Hamilton’s Memoirs of Modern Philosophers. Since the conservatives understood their opponents’ idealizing faith as the product of “metaphysical abstraction. II Anti-Jacobin novelists took full advantage of the satiric possibilities afforded by these radical representations of individual and social perfectibility. the “page of history. magazine editors) have both an unstudied generosity of spirit and a shrewd sense of the ubiquity of injustice in a commodity culture. the inhabitants have vanquished “the illusions of bigotry” and ensured “the equitable empire of philosophy and truth” (2:240–1). “labour becomes a pleasure rather than a task”.” their parodies of it frequently turned on the discrepancy between the world experienced through literature and through the agency of “common sense. Glib happens upon a lengthy account of the Hottentot in Francois Le Vaillant’s Travels from the Cape of Good Hope into the Interior Parts of Africa (1790) and through quotation from Political Justice proves that they represent the achievement of the new order predicted by Godwin.” decides to accompany Monthermer back to Anachoropolis and spend the remainder of his life “in the enjoyment of ease and tranquillity” (2:287).

Anti-Jacobin fiction. a theoretical construct into a workable society. nor any form of government.” Hamilton establishes that the necessary correlative to this supposed mental freedom is the complete absence of any of the normative signs of civility. Ives. and I would like now to develop this idea by considering the affinities between Hamilton’s satiric representation of the Hottentot and contemporary novels that define the “savage” in relation to domestic rather than exotic orders. inverts the customary satiric orientation of radical 1790s utopias and then adds a sexual dimension to its political charge by distinguishing male from female desire.32 The technique of diminishment through appropriation.33 The indictment of radicalism on the grounds of its shortsighted privileging of abstract qualities of mind over the actual conditions of social life is compounded by a characteristic gendering of Jacobin thought that operates to the disadvantage of women. but by subjective and often culpable desires. . mentioned above in relation to Northmore’s Memoirs and Holcroft’s Anna St. who so far from having their minds cramped in the fetters of superstition. in short. the appeal of the Hottentot utopia is its promise of perpetual idleness and of complete sexual license. In Northmore’s Memoirs. While Myope sees the Hottentot as “an exalted race of mortals . do not so much as believe in a Supreme Being. material or spiritual. without labor. For men like Glib and Myope. and The Enquirer to underscore the denial of history implicit in the radicals’ equation of the Hottentot with utopian perfection. and the Mary Hays caricature Bridgetina Botherim—thus appear to be doubly betrayed by the certainty of their sexual exploitation and by the impossibility of translating. The anti-Jacobin tendency toward oppositional structures appears again in the parallels between the discursive role of the Hottentot in Hamilton’s Memoirs of Modern Philoso- . In the circular letter that Citizen Myope composes to announce the Jacobins’ intended emigration to Africa. and have neither any code of laws. in Hamilton’s fiction the “savage” state of the projected utopia confirms the “civilized” social and gender distinctions of the real one. the perfections of the imagined state are used to critique those current in England.April London 547 the disinterested reason to which they lay claim. . Women who have come to believe in the intellectual integrity of the radical cause through their reading of romances—including both the sentimentally rendered heroine Julia Delmond. and their energies restrained by the galling yoke of law. is brilliantly exploited in Hamilton’s satire of utopian thought. Caleb Williams. I mentioned earlier the relation of utopian writing to the emergence of the historical novel and the national tale. Hamilton again includes extensive quotation from Political Justice.

depictions of Wales. the possibilities for arguing categorically the moral supremacy of the home culture are restricted. The Highlander (1800). The results are predictably disastrous: she alienates her loving husband. was not uniformly registered: Scotland most often appears in a midrange between the supposedly apolitical Welsh and the seditious Irish. the ideological uncertainties generated by the exchange of exotic African societies for relatively familiar border ones. more significantly. and Patrick’s The Irish Heiress (1797). The English perception of threat. Scotland. Douglas. and rise above her wrongs” (1:14). In previous novels (Tobias Smollett’s Humphry Clinker. Comparison with Hamilton’s Memoirs of Modern Philosophers reveals. but. Dorothea most nearly reproduces the satiric mode of Hamilton’s Memoirs of Modern Philosophers. Bisset’s Douglas. as in Memoirs of Modern Philosophers) are further compounded by the historical framework through which England’s relation to Wales. and Scotland were seen not only to have histories. and Holcroft. contributes to the death of her infant son. Guided by her reading of Wollstonecraft. Scotland. rather than in purely contrastive terms. Hamilton’s Hottentot satire depends on identifying the radicals’ facile theorizing about the future with the Cape Khoikhoi’s nonexistent history. the credulous heroine has been set on the course of radicalism by her fashionable London parents who “had never for a moment attempted to fetter the sublime aspirations of her infant mind” (1:3). for instance). Ireland. of course. But Wales.548 Novels of the 1790s phers and that of the traditional societies of Wales. the ambiguities fostered by a vantage that stresses cultural continuities (rather than difference. or. a Ray of the New Light (1801). Finally. and Scotland is understood. functioning as spatial complements to the works’ generational contrasts. Godwin. and still convinced that it is her moral duty to bring enlightenment to the masses. With metropolitan and marginal orders now represented in reciprocally defining. and Ireland in representative works of the period such as the anonymous Dorothea. to have histories defined by acts of rebellion and resistance that the authors of these novels wished to discount as potential models for the English Jacobins. goes off to live in Wales: “at . Of these three novels. But the pervasiveness of utopian thought in the literary culture of the 1790s gives an edge of politicized nationalism to what formerly took the shape of nostalgia.34 These historical differences help to clarify the distinctive meanings attaching to the utopian constructs in Dorothea. in turn. in part because Dorothea’s Welsh interlude fulfills a range of rhetorical purposes as restricted as those in Hamilton’s Hottentot one. the adult Dorothea “felt every instant inclined to assert her rights. and Ireland most often serve sentimental ends. or. In Dorothea. Ireland. and The Irish Heiress.

37 Thus. brave. like the Cape in Hamilton’s novel. destroys the actual innocence of the Welsh community by encouraging a pernicious individualism that ends in betrayal and theft. while the heroine’s descriptions of Paris during the Terror reveal the horrors of utopian theory realized. is conceived of as little more than a place whose retarded development enables “metaphysical theorists” to project their baseless idylls of communitarian life. and only when she resolves “to let the world go on in its old course” and “confines her mind within the gentle bonds of domestic cares and pleasures” (3:157–8) is order restored. Bisset uses Scotland to measure English degeneracy. Dorothea’s contrast of London and Wales stages the exposure of Godwinian pastoral in terms that render utopianism as juvenile fantasy. would involve not the denial. in contrast. is merely the extreme sign of the inherent selfishness of commercial society. in other words. Wales. then. offers a culturally specific representation of Scotland that draws extensively on the models of Enlightenment historiography in order to suggest that alternatives to radical utopianism may be discovered in Britain’s peripheries. Dorothea herself suffers the consequences of the “discontent and rebellion” (3:157) she has fomented. they are matched by equally graphic accounts of Irish poverty. utopian thought is shallow romance mongering.”36 But while conjectural historians like Ferguson refer to the condition of native Americans to gauge Britain’s progress. For Bisset. Jacobinism. even as it effectively forecasts . “the individual is every thing. as Adam Ferguson notes. however. As in Dorothea. Godwinian theory. and the public nothing” and “the state is merely a combination of departments. when put into practice its damage is at once personal and social. the primitive virtues of the Highlanders confirm a stadial interpretation of progress in which Scotland appears ideal in its preservation of a simplicity of manners that England has sacrificed to the pursuit of luxury. in which potentially. she determined to begin. At best. Patrick’s The Irish Heiress also attempts to counter radical utopianism by extolling the alignment of present with past that the traditional values of border nations encourage.April London 549 perfect liberty to pursue whatever idle vagaries might arise in her mind.” but in this instance the characterization of Ireland as “an industrious. by his logic. the narrator declares that she does not “meddle with politics. The achievement of utopia. But her considerable sympathy for the political aspirations of the Irish complicates the conservative attack on radical versions of utopianism and leads her to suggest that the Irish support for the revolutionary cause has its origins in a struggle against injustice that it shares with the French. oppressed nation” qualifies English claims to civility. by endeavouring to renew the golden age” (3:45).35 Bisset’s Douglas. of the past. but the recovery.

and the novel’s exploration of alternative social and political orders accordingly develops through reference to a different temporal perspective focused on an open future rather than a compromised past. Such confounding of seemingly straightforward political positions is not unusual in womenauthored fiction of the 1790s. Tim’s grandfather Dr. In the final novel of the revolutionary decade to be discussed in this essay. politics. All three works align social conjecture with the deceits of romance in order to affirm the authority of the past as a guide to present action. according to class and race. The plot of Berkeley Hall centrally involves a generational divide. and their black servants Sancho and Barbara) enabling new modes of social understanding. the binary England/France is displaced by the triangulated England/France/America. revolutionary France epitomizes the terrible consequences of enacting the utopian dream of a perfectible human nature. Berkeley Hall (1796). embeds within its conservative politics a critique of things as they are. the author organizes the protagonists’ adventures around a series of monologically rendered utopian interludes designed to underscore the futility of categorical thinking and to endorse narrative modes that incorporate the insights of history. the most inclusive and accommodating of these forms through which human frailties and potential may be recorded appears to be the novel itself.550 Novels of the 1790s (and comes close to justifying) the 1798 Rebellion. Homily. These correspond to the elders’ cherished political and philosophical hobbyhorses: . In an effort to expose both as indefensible extremes. then. for example. another of the origins of the nineteenth-century national tale and regional novel appears here in the responses of these conservative fictions to the political and literary challenge of radical utopias. and The Irish Heiress. its apparently nonpartisan critique of conservative satire and radical romance is unusual for the period. By the end of Berkeley Hall. with the younger generation (distinguished. Clara Reeve’s Plans of Education. While Berkeley Hall is quintessentially late eighteenth century in its complex orchestration of genres and its attention to the ideological implications of narrative kinds. Dorothea. From the vantage of generic innovation. and philosophy. In The Irish Heiress. But all of them finally concur in the belief that regional traditions encourage continuity and inhibit abrupt change. that actually dominate the text. But it is the individual eccentricities of the older generation headed by the owner of Berkeley Hall. as the hero Tim and his beloved Laetitia. Patrick’s sympathy for the plight of the Irish peasant makes her resist more than the other two novelists the inclination to represent a renovated English civility as the corrective to French barbarity. that like The Irish Heiress’s is profoundly radical in its implications.38 In Douglas.

to labour for support. But as the marine monarch continues with his description. peace. Godwinian perfectibility. for habitations. to the fantastic. are the ideals held in common by utopian thinkers and radicals of the period. Directed by the natural operations of instinct. . . but to undercut the value of such conjectural visions. . carriages. Painite commercial humanism. The opening utopia appears in both oral and written forms. and of industriousness means . The external signs of difference are clearly significant—the physical needs of this race of beings are effortlessly supplied as they move unconfined through their ocean domain. from my father’s mouth” (1:243). the author matches each of these private obsessions to a utopian order that can be communally experienced. America and England.40 But ultimately (and in keeping with its bias toward pragmatism). landed and commercial economies. without your vices. of course. and happiness . As his interlocutor tells Pangoleen: “Not therefore being under the necessity.41 Pangoleen’s adventures take him in and out of captivity and extend from a detailed account of his impressment in Africa and slavery in the West Indies to a fantastic encounter with an aquatic race whose state of pastoral ease he contrasts with the injunction to labor that governs terrestrial life. Homily at Berkeley Hall the story of his father. and separated from no natural obstructions” (1:235). clothing.39 In order. the unobstructed exchange of opinion: these. slavery and freedom. Leisure. as Sancho first recites to the circle of friends who visit Dr. and Berkeleyan metaphysics. “Prince Pangoleen. entirely almost the same” in “comfort. These utopias range from the actual. or shipping. pastoral and georgic. But qualities relating to inwardness finally determine the utter incompatibility of both peoples and political systems. alias George Silverheels. the marine race lives “from generation to generation. and remorse” (1:238–9). a single language. of resistance to hierarchy. . the text’s sophisticated play with the full register of utopian possibilities is designed not to endorse. The absence of aspiration.April London 551 variations on Burkean conservatism. Rousseauian primitivism. guilt. we have more leisure to improve our minds and acquire knowledge. marine and terrestrial races. and then produces a manuscript version of the life transcribed “by the parson of the parish at Bermudas . through the imagined. ease and industry. which is much facilitated by our having one language common to us all. to avoid the novel’s devolution into particularized caricature. he distinguishes aquatic from terrestrial races in terms that disallow human emulation of this perfect society. the intercourse being so free. and acquire within the body of the novel a further dimension of coherence through their participation in the work’s interlocking oppositions: nature and civility. presumably. machines. Heir Apparent to the Crown of Angola” (1:186). oral and written. like you.

the possibility of progress. a due subordination of ranks. plenty. in the Pennsylvanian interior (where Sourby disastrously attempts to enact Rousseau’s precepts). The ensuing tour takes the pair. progress is impossible and individually. and formal education impede man’s “renewing the golden age” through the “sweets of natural society” (2:343). In a fantastic inversion of one of the main tenets of Berkeley’s idealist philosophy. Dr. Pangoleen’s story as told by Sancho provokes among its listeners a wide-ranging debate on philosophical and political issues extending from the nature of happiness and the meaning of liberty to the relative merits of democracies and mixed government. . More particularly. This ancient Welsh order appears the terrestrial complement to the aquatic one with which the novel began: the inhabitants of both have their physical needs effortlessly supplied and “separated from the contentions and vices of the world. without civil government. Their achievement of an existence conducted entirely outside the bounds of history (defined here according to Whig notions of improvement) effectively undermines their usefulness as social models. the son of Gwnnedh. Homily maintains that “men cannot be kept in order . religion. an established religion. .552 Novels of the 1790s that culturally. no person can be “the author of his own excellence” (1:238). Sourby enunciates the radical counterposition in his conviction that law. an Iroquois village. marine “individuals” lack internal consciousness and. Sourby. hidden deep within the Allegheny mountains. including the Moravians’ religious one at Bethlehem. the novel then subjects this speculative disquisition to the test of the characters’ experiences: the lovelorn Tim now leaves Berkeley Hall for a restorative tour of America with Dr. and peace” (3:392). and provisions for the education of youth: without long-tried political usages and institutions recommended by experience. like “shoals of fish” or “birds of passage” (1:239) remain perpetually the same. who came to America “under the command of a leader or prince. both the Welsh and the aquatic races are not simply immune to. to both actual and imagined utopian settlements. Independent Hall. Dr. Conversely. and the firm execution of laws” (2:345). While the members of the circle agree that industriousness and knowledge enable human progress. called Madoc. accompanied by Sancho. The formal symmetry secured by bracketing the novel with these utopian idylls helps in turn to reinforce their shared basis in fantasy. to whom his grandfather has long served as patron despite their philosophical differences. as a result. a fantasy determined by their entire freedom from the restraints of time. they enjoy the most perfect harmony. they differ sharply on the means of defining and achieving such beneficial labor. Typically. . ideal society of Welsh emigrants. and finally a centuries-old. a foreign prince” (3:391). but actually exempt from.

Patrick. This essay has suggested that in such a climate of formal innovation. are a consistent feature of 1790s literature. It is also possible to read these utopian interludes in metanarrational terms. The conversation that ends Berkeley Hall then narrativizes these preferred terms. The reasons provided by critics for this turn away from utopian representations are drawn from a range of disciplinary vantages. vindicated here on the grounds of its flexibility and inclusiveness. the predicament of native Americans unable to accommodate themselves to the improving forces of a “commercial people like the British” (3:192) provokes more compassionate and thoughtful discussion. as the examples of Hamilton. Sourby. real and imagined. spiritual biography. The expressive potential of the novel as a forum for debate about the future aligns it with the already established ideal of purposive political change that Berkeley Hall throughout endorsed by questioning the older generation’s civil. and social analysis. and commercial theories. While this failure is treated comically in relation to Sourby’s natural society at Independent Hall.April London 553 the utopian orders described in the body of the novel—the Moravian settlement. As novels of the period responded to the threat (or promise) posed by the revolutionary debate. natural history. fully exposed by the conversational exchanges that the novel authorizes. and Bisset confirm. both formal utopias and their novelistic variants diminish in number after the turn of the century. utopian writing was especially fitted to pursue speculative inquiries into the relation between the key conceptual categories of history and fiction. the fantastic and the possible utopias of the novel thus describe the disabling limitations of a social existence that excludes or resists an awareness of historical change. Tim and Laetitia. and audience. time. Homily’s and together outline their plans for a better future. a peculiarity that elicits detailed commentary from Tim. The utopian elements that occasion Berkeley Hall’s meditations on genre. along with their servants Sancho and Barbara. religious. or political economy. the Iroquois camp. gather with the reformed characters of the older generation at Dr. Dr. they engaged to an unprecedented degree the terms of the neighboring genres of politics. and public and private.42 But despite this ability to foster comparative analysis. Their successive diminishment as explanatory models works to reinforce the authoritative status of the novel. Gregory Claeys . and Sancho. The monologism of utopian constructs. history. Considered together. finally yields to the communal acceptance of the progress enabled by compromise. and Independent Hall—are marked by their inhabitants’ failure to adjust to altered circumstances. since each subscribes to the discursive conventions of a specific eighteenth-century genre: the imaginary voyage.

and by the recurrent structural contrast between England and those marginal places in which “ancient . those of Godwin and Holcroft. Berkeley Hall finally privileges the mechanical ordering of time (the time of “watches” and “parish dials” that measure and objectify the relation of past to present) over what the radicals deemed time’s “natural” order (in which truth becomes manifest in a fully potential future). had been preserved by their exemption from the massive changes within English urban centers. as the ideal worlds of the ocean kingdom and the transplanted Welsh community are subjected to the critique of their mutual imperviousness to progress. as we saw in Henry Willoughby or Memoirs of Planetes.” This temporal regulation is confirmed in a number of ways: by historiographical references ranging from Bacon to the Scottish Enlightenment. on the preeminent value of what Thelwall designates the mechanical mode of “watches” and “parish dials. assimilating to their fictions the ideas of favored figures such as Burke and. and economic treatises. . in closing. Conservative novelists responded in kind by incorporating material from political and natural histories.45 . But they carefully distinguished themselves from the radical insistence on a future configured according to the imperatives of “natural time” by advancing representations of “border” places such as Ireland. Scotland. by novel plots that rely on generational patterns. In resisting this universalizing project. To recall the terms of Thelwall’s comment. As long as that natural order of time remained conceptually important—as it did throughout the 1790s— radical texts. pursued their revelation of “truths” and their argument for the possibility of a future unconditioned by the past by drawing freely on the discursive conventions of neighboring genres.44 I would like. Radical utopianism. the conservatives claimed. We can see in works such as Berkeley Hall early evidence of the qualifications to which Claeys and Kumar point. . more specifically the ways in which the decline of utopianism is registered in changes in novel formation and the representations of time at the beginning of the nineteenth century. biographies. in their representations of time. by means of parody. Here the traditional manners of peoples unsullied by luxury. conservative writers retained the discursive scope of their opponents.43 Krishan Kumar suggests that the tendency to conceptualize history in evolutionary terms made obsolete the utopian model of an achieved perfection.554 Novels of the 1790s locates the key challenge to the more stringent versions of radical republicanism in the increasing acceptance and ubiquity of commerce in the period. to consider the implications of this generic eclipse for the novel. cultures in which the determining influence of the past was retained. in short. But they insisted. and Wales. subverted customary distinctions of genre and of temporality. manners and customs” have been preserved.

rather than defensively. NOTES 1 John Thelwall.April London 555 The latter phrase appears in “A Postscript. it points to a significant continuity of opposition to the revolutionary decade’s utopianism. 3 William Godwin. . and for the unprecedented realization of principle can only appear as at once naïvely counterhistorical and antinovelistic. Isaac Kramnick (Harmondsworth: Penguin. for the elision of private and public. Gregory Claeys (University Park: Pennsylvania State Univ. To A Noble Lord (1796). Thompson and Michel Foucault to analysis of eighteenth-century temporality in Telling Time: Clocks. rather. Stuart Sherman persuasively details the limitations of this literary model and of those deployed by historians such as E. ’Tis Sixty Years Since. and English Diurnal Form. as in the 1790s) the determining force of progress. 716. the utopian argument for transcendent truths. In late-eighteenth-century conservative fiction. and then thematizes the desirability of adapting to change through its contrast of romance and “real history. Edmund Burke.” The exemplary figures of romance.” ’Tis Sixty Years Since commemorates the triumph of expedience and compromise over such transcendent “truths. in The Politics of English Jacobinism: Writings of John Thelwall. Lateeighteenth-century utopias express both politically and generically their resistance to the placing of individuals in time that Sherman argues follows from the “absorption into narrative form of the kinds of time propounded by the new chronometry” (p. 1660–1785 (Chicago: Univ. The shared vocabulary of 1790s loyalist fiction and the emergent early-nineteenth-century forms of historical novel is not arbitrary. a narratological distinction elaborated in the work of Gerard Genette and Paul Ricoeur. Enquiry concerning Political Justice and Its Influence on Morals and Happiness. Diaries.” Walter Scott’s summary account in Waverley of the transformation of Scotland since the ’45. Sober Reflections on the Seditious and Inflammatory Letter of the Right Hon. the sense that border cultures powerfully confirm the value of the mechanical ordering of time was used to counter the radicals’ resistance to historical explanation. and then ratifying the social value of difference in the final division of the domestic from the historical. which should have been a Preface. 1995). 25). ed. 329–87.” The novel invests in the mode of “watches” and “parish dials” by measuring the difference between the present moment and the generational spans on both sides of the ’45. Scott’s work registers this quantifying impulse in its running title. 2 Thelwall’s binaries here mesh suggestively with Frank Kermode’s distinction of kairos from chronos. as we have seen. 365–6. Novels like Waverley retain this connection between marginal place and mechanical time in order to assert (confidently. of Chicago Press. Press. 1976). pp. p. 1996). ed. From this vantage. P. Flora and Fergus MacIvor—again to adapt Thelwall’s phrasing—allow “principles” to be “the sun of [their] intellectual universe.

He asserts. now reason begins to be triumphant. Metamorphoses of Science Fiction: On the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre (New Haven: Yale Univ. 1987) and Darko Suvin. Gregory Claeys [London: Pickering and Chatto. of the Cessares. having neither facts nor principles. for instance. Similarly. Sketch of Democracy (London. and a Sketch of the Character and Conduct of his most Eminent Associates. Comprehending an Impartial Account of his Literary and Political Efforts. 279. Chloe Chard and Helen Langdon (New Haven: Yale Univ. The accusation of abstract speculation. of Georgia Press. and concerning which. and universal contempt” (Modern British Utopias. “Introduction. which. p. For the relation of utopian writing to geographical exploration and mapping. xix. ed.556 Novels of the 1790s 4 Thomas Paine. With the displacement of the past by the plot of anticipated time. 6 This is not to suggest that radicals did not write satires. 1986). Origins of Futuristic Fiction (Athens and London: Univ. and Imaginative Geography. 1993) and Chloe Chard. Gregory Claeys (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. see Paul K. 166. The Second Edition. 308). or Thomas Spence. Press. 1700–1850. 71–136. and Police. Reader in a Strange Land: The Activity of Reading Literary Utopias (Athens and London: Univ. 1979). Henry Collins (Harmondsworth: Penguin. Voyage to the Moon Strongly Recommended (1793) opens with an ironic dedication “To the Patrons of Liberty” and again targets Burke. is justly falling into decay. 1796). From Mr. to His Friend in Holland (London. Formally. pp. A People of South America: In Nine Letters. Bisset’s advocacy of the shaping power of history is central to his confutation of radicalism. Utopian writing offered solutions to many of the representational and conceptual problems that beset radical writers in their advocacy of massive reformation. One of the Senators of that Nation. is an antigovernment satire told from the point of view of one who is at least initially sympathetic to the corruptions of Pekrub [Burke] and his cronies. consequently. the exemplar of the “base prostitution of literary talents. For hire. 277–319. Form of Government. 1–29. in Utopias of the British Enlightenment. Rights of Man. 1:44. might be answered through detailed descriptions of the workings of model commonwealths such as those found in the work of William Hodgson. Coadjutors. An Account of the First Settlement. Volume IV: 1778–1798. 1996). Press. 1979). it provided a powerful rhetorical means of countering the charges leveled against them by their conservative opponents. for instance. 8 Peter Ruppert. that Godwin’s theories refer to “a state [of nature] never realized in the history of man. The radical assumption that such commonwealths represent a simple extension of the inherent perfectibility of individuals into the social sphere in turn undercuts the conservative argument that the institutional structures of the past exercise a determining influence on the present. Pleasure. 10 For a full discussion of the relation between these changes and the emergence of futurist fiction. the radicals were also able to substantiate their claim for the imminent realization of their utopian orders. 1994). 1800). pp. we cannot reason. he writes in favour of the most detestable of all causes. 73. p. (London. 1997].” in Transports: Travel. for example. Press. pp. 9 Gregory Claeys’s work as both editor and critic has documented the increases in publication in the 1790s of formal utopias. The anonymous Modern Gulliver’s Travels (1796). pp. ed. Alkon. 183. Laws. ed. 4. Writing the New World: Imaginary Voyages and Utopias of the Great Southern Land (Syracuse: Syracuse Univ. who appears here as “that abandoned reptile” Edmuldus Barkwell. 1764). 7 Robert Bisset. see David Fausett. of Georgia Press. 5 James Burgh. . Press. ed. Vander Neck. John Lithgow. 1600–1830.” See The Life of Edmund Burke. and Opponents. 2 vols.

April London 557 11 For an exception to this focus on formal utopias. and printers’ devils too. in Claeys. 137–97. representations that are key to the emergence of the forms of historical and regional fiction that Trumpener analyzes (Bardic Nationalism: The Romantic Novel and the British Empire [Princeton: Princeton Univ. p. ed. Property. striking a pose. 420). 139. I. 20). for the first time. 16 Northmore. 285–371. 1997]. 72. G. Modern British Utopias. Which led me on to varnish monst’rous vice. 1993). 17 Thomas Spence. a panoramic picture of the social changes of the past seventy-five years. p.” But radical fiction is not only concerned with “contemporary political and economic life”. where the naïf protagonist recognizes the true state of affairs in England and goes to take his leave of Burke who. ed. p. Gallop (Nottingham: Spokesman Press. 321–440. 50. 1982). and the primitivist republicanism that he sees as characteristic of Burgh’s Cessares and Northmore’s Planetes. 192. and all the tinsel glare. The royal rags. Claeys distinguishes between two dominant reformist strains in 1790s utopias: the political reform advocated by Thomas Paine in Rights of Man. 1994). An Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution (1794). p. Janet Todd (Oxford: Oxford Univ. declaims: And is it come to this! oh! then farewel The paid-for pen! Farewell the phrase verbose! The spirit-stirring hope of great reward. 192. However base which once Blefescu bore! Printers. 1996). Elsewhere. pp. see the anonymous Voyage to the Moon Strongly Recommended To All Lovers of Real Freedom (1793) where Edmund Burke appears as Edmuldus Barkwell. Utopian Imagination and Eighteenth-Century Fiction (New York and London: Longman. 336. Pig’s Meat: The Selected Writings of Thomas Spence. in Utopias of the British Enlightenment. Memoirs of Planetes. 1778–1798. 142. in Mary Wollstonecraft: Political Writings. ed. 15 Northmore. 13 Katie Trumpener refers briefly to the Jacobin commitment to the social function of literature in order to argue that “it is only in the early nineteenth century that a new Scottish historical fiction and an Irish national fiction attempt. p. “Utopianism. Press. Krishan Kumar and Stephen Bann (London: Reaktion Books. Radical and Pioneer Land Reformer. or a Sketch of the Laws and Manners of Makar. Some subsequent references to Northmore will appear parenthetically in the text. 46–62. Mary Wollstonecraft. And the sublime and beautiful’s no more! (Modern Gulliver’s Travels [1796]. Farewel! Old Pekrub’s occupation’s gone.” in Utopias and the Millennium. 14 Thomas Northmore. 1994). ye pretty pensions which so long Have bless’d my fingers for the venal song. pp. For examples of ironic adaptations of Burkean rhetoric in radical utopias. 12 Thelwall. Gregory Claeys (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. p. See Claeys. By Phileleutherus Devoniensis (1795). 18 Northmore. and the French Revolution Debate in Britain. farewel! And ye. ed. Press. pp. see the survey of contemporary novels in Christine Rees. pp. and the anonymous 1796 satire Modern Gulliver’s Travels. Press. . the process of mutual definition characteristic of radical and conservative fiction of the 1790s originates in their common concern with representations of time. Memoirs of Planetes. 289.

1800). The terms of Benedict Anderson’s definition of the nation as “an imagined political community—and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign” run counter to the radical arguments for universality.” See Bisset. describes opponents such as David Hume who has “set up a kind of slop-shop of morality in the suburbs of Atheism. not interpretation of nature’—that they were not only individually erroneous. . Pursuits of Literature. 24 Northmore. The relation of language and education to an imperialism effected through intellectual rather than martial means is adjusted later in the novel in order to describe the particular conditions under which native Americans exist. 157. p. A Satirical Poem in Four Dialogues (London. 20 Northmore. (London. Lumeire explains. declares that his disinterestedness is secured by his adherence to “the greatest masters of ancient and legitimate composition. See Imagined Communities. 154. as Mr. 21 Northmore.” Thomas Mathias. or might settle. p. 3 vols. or. or. the comments made by the heroine’s father in the anonymous Dorothea. 28 See. . we must investigate. Douglas. 18. 155. 1800). Bisset. we must resolutely reject hypothesis. 1991). p. 26 Ibid. he again advocates the “test . if suffered to operate. but that the causes which had produced them. He saw they were ‘Anticipations of mind. Lord Bacon discovered the tendency and value of the hypothetical theories. Sketch Of Democracy. the hero brings the “TEST OF INDUCTION” to bear on “the metaphysical jargonists. 27 Bisset’s advocacy of Baconian methods of induction recurs throughout his works. In this later instance. rev. and used the various articles of European consumption?” (3:192–3). 2–3. 25 Northmore. 1983. that they may feather their nests in the scuffle. The Pupil of Experience. p. An alternate reading of the Makarian culture as one resisting nationalism (rather than endorsing imperialism) is also possible. edn. Burgh incorporates a similar warning in his conclusion to Cessares. Mr. 3 vols. . A Ray of the New Light. if the immense nations who dwell. The Highlander. “should wish not to conquer. 154. but civilize the globe. which so long amused mankind. that is. 3:33. 136). “The History of Prince Pangoleen” (discussed below). must always produce error. Douglas. a universality whose linguistic dimension contravenes a key condition for the emergence of the nation. 1796) advances a similar argument in its interpolated narrative. pp. Vander Zee. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso. 1801): “these fellows only strive to create a disturbance.” where he trades along with Godwin. or. 6. (London. of history and induction . In his novel. pp. Radical Sensibility: Literature and Ideas in the 1790s (London and New York: Routledge. and adhere to facts. To know either nature or man. were civilized. (London. We must not expatiate into the regions of conceived possibility. who “sets up his trumpery-shop in the same quarter. What a demand would open for their commodities. commerce is invested with imperial agency.” The language of the marketplace. the British. they would shake the political . are thereby convinced of the great use and necessity of these regulations) I cannot say” (p.” and finds them wanting. Vander Neck ends his last letter from South America to Mr. 314–5. too. between us and the Pacific Ocean. as our great philosopher perceived. 23 See Chris Jones. Sketch of Democracy. 22 Ibid. 1993). and Thomas Mathias. 3 vols. . when the present generation is dead (who by their having lived in Europe.558 Novels of the 1790s 19 The anonymous Berkeley Hall. the demotion of Latin relative to the vernacular. p. in his political treatise. conversely. still in Holland: “What alterations may hereafter be introduced among us. for.

see Linda E. 183–4. 1998). Eleanor Ty. 1796–1812 (Toronto: Univ. Further references will be indicated parenthetically in the text by volume and page number. 37 Burke’s connection between the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland and Jacobinism in France is interesting in this context: I think I can hardly overrate the malignancy of the principles of Protestant ascendancy. 2:39. or of Indianism as they affect these countries. Revolution and the Form of the British Novel.” ECLife. We are also told that Glib finds the “sprightliness of the author’s manner. and Amelia Opie. An Essay on the History of Civil Society. Unsex’d Revolutionaries: Five Women Novelists of the 1790s (Toronto: Univ. 1976) and his Women. which broke out at this time. is a subject of too much importance to be treated at large in a work of this kind” (3:115–6). a Minerva Press author whose novels were influenced by Godwin. 29 Paine. Anti-Jacobin novelists repeatedly charged that radicalism attracted the ill-informed and uneducated. Watson. of Toronto Press. Memoirs of Modern Philosophers. as they affect Ireland. and woe to the poor birds who would shelter near them” (1:106). 17. the adventures of the Irish antihero of the novel’s subplot. Louis Schneider (New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Publishing. his zeal in the pursuit of natural history. Patricia Meyer Spacks. and flows from them. The author declares that the “history of the rebellion. 36 Adam Ferguson. of Toronto Press. but once put them at the top of the tree.. 34 As Merians has detailed. Subsequent references will appear parenthetically in the text. But it really combines with the others. 30 On the interrelations of conservative and radical fiction in the 1790s. Whatever breeds . Interrupted Seductions (Oxford: Clarendon Press. See her “‘Hottentot’: The Emergence of an Early Modern Racist Epithet. or of Jacobinism. On the discursive complexities of the Hottentot in eighteenth-century culture. Who We Are: Representations of the ‘Hottentot’ in Eighteenth-Century Britain. 1780–1805 (Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1994). The last is the greatest evil. in fact. 1993) and her Empowering the Feminine: The Narratives of Mary Robinson. 1790–1825: Intercepted Letters. Rights of Man.” ShakS 26 (1998): 123–44. 32 Elizabeth Hamilton. 33 Hamilton. (London: 1798). Writing. pp. [and] his unbounded philanthropy” tedious. often identified with the Hottentot. and it is therefore significant that Glib reads Vaillant’s Travels in a translation done by Elizabeth Helme. n.April London 559 phial till the dregs rise. 35 The representation of Ireland in Dorothea is strikingly different from that of Wales. 2:227. 1990). 3 vols. and Revolution. as they affect all Europe and the state of human society itself. ed. underscore the brutal violence that the author sees as the actual political consequence of enabling such a “time-serving parasite” (1:30) to pursue his intent to “rise on the neck of the people to the height of his ambition” (3:116). Merians. 2 vols. 1800).s. of Chicago Press. 1993). Jane West. Thomas Williams. it is only the account of the Hottentot in the second volume that “made very ample amends for the time thrown away upon the first” (1:320). 1980). 1790–1827 (Oxford: Clarendon Press. 3 (November 1993): 14–39. While the Welsh interlude is relatively benign in its exposure of the disabling abstractness of Godwin’s doctrine of perfectibility. see Gary Kelly. p. but Williams’s activities clearly mark him out as a figure for Ireland. and as they affect Asia. “What They Are. the Irish were. A Novel. The English Jacobin Novel. 31 Henry Willoughby. Desire and Truth: Functions of Plot in Eighteenth-Century Novels (Chicago: Univ. 64. (London. 57. 2:41. Nicola J.

” pp. the “natural society” that Dr. Subsequent references will appear parenthetically in the text. Pennsylvania. 38 Clara Reeve’s Plans of Education. [London: 1796]. 39 George Walker’s The Vagabond (1799) also makes Berkeleyan metaphysics central to its satiric representation of a radical utopia set in America. 3 vols. of Minnesota Press. Whatever tends to persuade the people. and the continent of “Machaira” at the South Pole that appears as “one immense garden” in which the inhabitants enjoy “an even unbroken course of peace and social virtues” (Berkeley Hall. the novels represent communities of women whose social practices are distinct from. religious or political. for example. With Remarks on the Systems of Other Writers. Like Sarah Scott’s Millenium Hall and Mary Walker’s Munster Village. 288). and the French Revolution Debate in England. Walker’s novel. 1789–1832 (Cambridge MA and London: Harvard Univ. Press. 45 Walter Scott. p. 46–52. ix–x). This passage is quoted by Seamus Deane in support of his argument that Burke’s political theory of the affections has its origins in Irish experience. . customary male structures. “Utopianism. Press. 340. although their radical feminocentrism is utopian in impulse. p. Claire Lamont (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Thus. or. or. a novel that provides an astonishing compendium of narrative devices. ’Tis Sixty Years Since. Darnford and Her Friends (London. but not finally imagined as actively challenging. In a Series of Letters between Mrs. The Pupil of Experience. that the few called by whatever name you please. 44 Krishan Kumar.” a work that “places him uncomfortably close to Harrington compared to his other works” (“Introduction. 1986). Mackenzie’s Man of Feeling) typifies the dense allusiveness of Berkeley Hall. 1792) is the sequel to The School for Widows (1791). the novels do not advocate change. 1991). will produce that great master-mischief most infallibly. 40 The novel thus describes the Moravian religious settlement in Bethlehem.560 Novels of the 1790s discontent at this time. Waverley. however. 17.” Utopias of the British Enlightenment.” Hume’s “Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth. 59–61. Utopianism (Minneapolis: Univ. 42 Claeys cites as evidence that utopias “confront the social and political transformations of their own time. 41 This glancing reference to the recurring eighteenth-century trope in which possession by a clergyman authenticates a manuscript (see. Sourby institutes at Independent Hall. is intractably anti-Jacobin in its politics. 1988). Property. pp. is a great point gained to Jacobinism. See The French Revolution and Enlightenment in England. and often propose more dramatic solutions than the mainstream political literature. pp. 1:286. are of opinion that their interest is not compatible with that of the many. 43 See Claeys. ed.