The Open UniversitySkip to content

Introduction: Millar and his Circle

Plassart, Anna (2019). Introduction: Millar and his Circle. History of European Ideas, 45(2) pp. 128–147.

Full text available as:
Full text not publicly available (Accepted Manuscript)
Due to publisher licensing restrictions, this file is not available for public download until 9 December 2020
Click here to request a copy from the OU Author.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This essay examines two anonymous pamphlets that have sometimes been attributed to John Millar: the ‘Letters of Sidney’, and the ‘Letters of Crito’, both published in 1796 by the Scots Chronicle. It outlines the political context for the pamphlets’ publication and the evidence for and against Millar's authorship, and reassesses their contents' significance for our interpretation of Millar's other writings. While the ‘Letters of Crito’ present a classically Foxite critique of Pitt's ministry and Britain's war against revolutionary France, the ‘Letters of Sidney’ put forth a more theoretical defence of property reform based upon a Smithian theory of justice. Yet taken together, the essay demonstrates the pamphlets offer new insights into the political discussions that were taking place in Scottish Foxite Whig circles in the 1790s. They also provide a snapshot of the various ways in which the theories of the Scottish Enlightenment could be used by Millar and his circle of friends and students to interpret the political context of the mid-1790s, as the French Revolution was transforming the political language of its English and Scottish contemporaries.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
ISSN: 0191-6599
Keywords: John Millar; Scottish Enlightenment; French Revolution; John Craig; Charles James Fox; James Maitland (Lord Lauderdale); Property
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > History, Religious Studies, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology > History
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > History, Religious Studies, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 61431
Depositing User: Anna Plassart
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2019 12:37
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2019 09:12
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU