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the murdermystery: truth may historycanat timesbe like readinga sophisticated Studying to or maynot be what it appears be at first sight;but what is certainis that througha careful involvedandthe situationthey are in, the truths in a mysterynovel, scrutinyof the characters of our our and whenfinally unveiled,oftenchange perspective, broaden understanding before. So,too, in readinghistory,aswe comecloserto understanding that everything happened we a of we historicalproblems canexperience re-imagining everything thoughtwe knew about the of them. Something how this workscanbetterbe madeclearthroughan example: problenr

Revolutionery War. French (and sense man'spotential of heldanoptimistic the Generally, literaryandpoliticalradicals ofbaditionalinstitutions to that nature), tended believe majorreconstruction and thusof human - familyonup - wouldhelpbringforthutopia"Duringthewaryears they to however, came , / holdback helped to rethinkman'snature ceme believe, and muchlike Burke,thatinstitutions was passions change traditions, wereno longsrauacked; ofthe masses. Custom, thedangerous quo. no longgr venerated: wasmuchto besaidfor thestatus there that and this At lirst glance mightimagine weknowthereason happened not suspect we that home realities of the moreto it theviolence ofthe revolution brought thereis anything radical? werethese thinkers revolution.But ifthis wasso,werethey,andif so,in whatsense seem explores, his findings make literaryradicals the that and Thisis a question Dickinson 'middleclass'thatwenormally a mightexpect 'radicsl'to be. closer Wahrman's to somewhat a was to a Wabrman describes in the 1790's middleclass thought existwhichoffered how to ToriesandRadicals a guidefor thenation follow. Dickinson as middlepathbetween extreme these literaryradicals themselves holdinga middlingposition.He as we sugggsts undentand
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in to in that emphasizes theyparticipated Girondinpolitical circles( in contrast Robespienean) in methods realizingchange France. We notice of France, which calledfor muchlessextreme as too, aswe readof radicalslike Godwin for example,that they tendto imaginethemselves true,as BurkeandPaine. Sowhile it seems occupying middleposition,in his case between a of Dickinsonpointsout, that the evidence the violencehada profoundeffecton literaryradicals themasradical. They if in Britain, this really only makessense we arecarefulin describing but wereradical in that their ideaswerenot mainstream; in sensibilitythey were gentryandthus thanrespectable. muchmoreplebeian whenthe Revolutionseemed deeplydisturbed cause the of we If we accept Dickinson'sconclusion havea casewherethe suspected wascorrect- the violenceof the revolution - but further explorationleadsto a transformation of of deeperunderstanding the literary radicals. It may alsobe that our understanding is For if would be broadened we investigate othersuspects. example, intellectualtransformation thosewho were educated circles,evenamongst reactionamongst it possible a conservative the in was formally radicallike Southey, likely, with or without the violent regicidaldevelopments France?We turn to Malthusto shedsomelight on this possibility. beforethe who furned'conservative' of In Winch's exploration Malthuswe find someone of understanding man wasobviousto anyone war. Malthus himself believedthat a conservative who usedtheir eyes(empiricism)anddid not makethe mistakeof makinginto a wholetruth what is really a partial truth i.e humanbeingshavesomepotentialfor good,but arenot therefore wholly good. Malthusbelievedthat Smith wasright that man waslargely dominatedand motivatedby petty self interest,andthus could neverbelievethat institutionalchangein France of could effect the emergence rational man. wasin. Wasit arrivedat through beforethe evidence But how did he cometo this conclusion

solelyon he based Because did not arriveat conclusions soundscientificprocedure? effectsto possible effectsratherthanfrom observed from causes possible to extrapolation, less Or causes? shouldwe takelessfrom Malthus'sscience, from his focuson biolory over of political economy example, morefrom his deeplyreligioussense manandhis and for of to of the universe.Malthus,in shaping conclusions political economy fit with his conception in newly enthroned a God'suniverse discarded utilitarianismandsecularism arrivedat his politicaVphilosophical circlestypified by Humeand Smith. Malthusapparently in conclusions part by reactingto thoughthe thoughtoverly secularandthus amoral;and if we of remember that his sense man asfallen had previouslybeenthe nonn we might imaginethat utopianidealismwith or without a British societywasduefor a harshcounterreactionto secular revolutionarywar in France;which might haveaffectedeventhosewho had onceentertained reaction, arereminded w€ radicalideas. If we accept this asa playinga part in a conservative with a thorough knowledgeof that the storydoesnot begin in 1790but canonly be understood in thinkingthroughthe 1700's. the changes philosophical into In our explorationof the problemof why the British literary radicalsweretransformed with a closerconsideration what a radicalmight be, andwe followed of we conservatives, began ( that causes this transformation at leastto suggest there of to with similar purpose the possible who wasculpable), thusit is fifing to endwith by considering and might be another suspect as their transformation into conservatives.If we how, and in what w&y,we shouldunderstand and look at Eastwood's studyof 'RobertSouthey the IntellectualOriginsof Romantic and in abandoned Jacobinism the 1790's cameto the we Conservatism' learnthat Southey in venerate history,utility, andflexibility of Englishinstitutions a way similar to Edmund the wasunlike Burke in not sharinghis hostility to public Burke. But we alsolearnthat Southey




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the of charity andthe predicament the labouringpoor. Although he defended primacyof the policepowersto containpolitical press increased censorship; Anglicanchurch;encouraged for and dissidence; transportation life asan efficient meansof political and socialcontrol; he poor reliet, a systern nationaleducation;penalreform and of increased also supported programme public works financedth of of modernization the criminal code;anda massive taxation. What we learnfrom Eastwoodis that while literary radicalsdid roughincreased they did not of their radicalism,anddid supportsomeelements the establishment abandon simply championthe statusquo. helpedbring us In fact, Eastwoodencourages to look for ttre noveltiesthat men like Southey focusedmuchof his attentionon the conditionsof the poor. He also to the fore. Southey with economicconditionsratherthan political institutionsasthe identified socialchange principal agencies change.And thus,asEastwoodexplains"southey madean importantand of ideas". original contributionto the world of early nineteenth-century the aboutVoltaire'sbastards: timidity We finish with a surprise.JohnRalstonSaullaments thinken andregimes. On the surfacethis is the storythat the conservative of post enlightenment centurytells. Howevero turn of mind of the literary radicalsduring the turn of the nineteenth standvindicated. Man's potentialwas the whenwe look more closelyat the evidence accused conceptionof man, by not mudered after all, instead, comingto termswith a more conservative enlighteningthe people, on former radicalsbeganto concentrate a meansof systematically modern, which was morepragmatic,slower,andlessoptimistic, but which was still progressive, at by hopefulandmuchmore likely to be accepted a mainstream a time when empathetic, like original sin hadnot slid to the peripheryasmuch asis often supposed. concepts