Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction

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pp. ix-xx

John Millar’s first book, The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks (1771), is now regarded as a classic of eighteenth-century social inquiry, but comparatively little attention has been paid to the longer historical study that occupied Millar for much of the remainder of his career. ...

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A Note on the Text

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pp. xxi-xxii

Given its length and its subject matter, An Historical View might seem a difficult work to introduce to a wider modern readership, but John Millar’s strengths as a historian reside less in the detail of his researches than in the clarity, scope, and intelligence of his ideas. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xxiii-xxiv

We have been fortunate to have help and advice from a number of friends and colleagues. Knud Haakonssen has been not only a sympathetic general editor but also a very valuable reader and scholarly resource for all aspects of Millar’s work. ...

Abbreviations used in the Notes

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pp. xxv-xxvi

An Historical View of English Government: Volume I

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pp. 3-4

The Friends of Mr. Millar to whom he entrusted his Manuscripts, think they would be wanting in their duty, were they not to publish the following continuation of his Historical View of the English Government. ...

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To the Right Honourable Charles James Fox

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pp. 5-6

I shall, perhaps, be thought guilty of presumption, in wishing to draw your attention to the following publication. The truth is, it appears to me scarcely possible for any man to write a constitutional history of England, without having Mr. Fox almost constantly in his thoughts. ...

Contents

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pp. 7-8

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Introduction

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pp. 9-12

The great series of events in the history of England may be divided into three parts:1 the first, extending from the settlement of the Saxons in Britain to the Norman conquest; the second, from the reign of William the Conqueror to the accession of the house of Stewart; the third, from the reign of James the First to the present time. ...

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Chapter I. Preliminary Account of the State of Britain under the Dominion of the Romans.

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pp. 13-27

The downfal of the Roman state, and the formation of those kingdoms which were built upon the ruins of it, may be regarded as one of the greatest revolutions in the history of mankind. A vast unwieldly empire, which had for ages languished under a gloomy despotism, was then broken into a number of independent states, ...

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Chapter II. Character and Manners of the Saxons.

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pp. 28-39

Of those barbarians who passed under the denomination of Saxons, and who, at the time when they were invited to assist the Britons, inhabited the northern parts of Germany, it is of little moment to ascertain the origin, or to trace the several places in which they had previously resided. ...

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Chapter III. Settlement of the Saxons in Britain.

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pp. 40-50

The Saxons accepted with joy and alacrity the proposals made to them by the Britons; and it appears to have been stipulated, that they should immediately send a body of troops into Britain, to be employed in the defence of the country, and to receive a stated hire during the continuance of their services.* ...

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Chapter IV. Similarity in the Situation of the Anglo-Saxons, and of the other Barbarians who settled in the Provinces of the Western Empire. How far the State of all those Nations differed from that of every other People, ancient or modern.

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pp. 51-71

During the same century in which the Anglo-Saxons began their settlements in England, the other provinces of the western empire were invaded by a multitude of rude nations, from Germany and the more easterly parts of the world. Allured by the prospect of booty, these barbarians had long made accidental incursions upon the frontier provinces; ...

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Chapter V. The State of Property, and the different Ranks and Orders of Men, produced by the Settlement of the Saxons in Britain.

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pp. 72-92

The distribution of property among any people is the principal circumstance that contributes to reduce them under civil government, and to determine the form of their political constitution. The poor are naturally dependent upon the rich, from whom they derive subsistence; ...

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Chapter VI. Institution of Tythings, Hundreds, and Counties.

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pp. 93-107

In every nation it must be a great object to provide for defence against the invasion of neighbouring states; but in a rude age, the provisions requisite for this purpose are few and simple. The great body of the people are soldiers, willing and ready to take the field whenever their service is necessary. ...

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Chapter VII. Of the Wittenagemote.

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pp. 108-121

By the gradual extension of intercourse between the different families or tribes of the Anglo-Saxons, and by the advancement of their political union, the inhabitants of larger territories were led to assemble for the regulation of their public concerns. As the freemen or allodial proprietors of a tything, of a hundred, and of a shire, ...

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Chapter VIII. State of the Sovereign in the primitive Anglo-Saxon Government.

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pp. 122-133

The different parties of the Saxons, who invaded Britain, were each of them under the conduct of some adventurer, whose fortunes they had followed, either from personal attachment, or from a confidence in his abilities. After they had settled in the country, the same person continued to have the command of their forces, and became also the chief civil officer of the community. ...

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Chapter IX. Of the principal Events from the Reign of Egbert to the Norman Conquest.

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pp. 134-150

While England, by the union of the different states of the heptarchy, was emerging from barbarism, and laying the foundation of a great and powerful kingdom, a new enemy involved her in a series of fresh calamities; and contributed to retard the progress of her improvements. ...

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Chapter X. Variations in the State of Tythings, Hundreds, and Shires.

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pp. 151-156

The resignations of land, made by allodial proprietors in order to procure the patronage and protection of a feudal superior, were moulded in a particular manner, and received a peculiar direction, from the institutions formerly mentioned, of tythings, hundreds, and shires, as, on the other hand, the state of these institutions underwent a great alteration from the progress of those resignations. ...

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Chapter XI. Changes produced in the Condition of the Vassals, and of the Peasants.

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pp. 157-168

The members of every feudal dependency consisted of the military retainers or vassals, and of the peasants, or churles; both of whom, in the latter part of the Anglo-Saxon government, experienced a great alteration in their circumstances. ...

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Chapter XII. The Influence of these Changes upon the Jurisdiction and Authority of the feudal Lords.

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pp. 169-176

The advancement of the Anglo-Saxon vassals and peasants to greater security and freedom, and the separation of the trading people from the class of husbandmen, could not fail to limit the authority of the superior, and more especially to affect the state of his jurisdiction. ...

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Chapter XIII. Of Ecclesiastical Courts.

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pp. 177-183

While the nobles were gradually extending their power, and reducing that of the sovereign, the ecclesiastical order was advancing, with hasty strides, to the establishment of an authority independent of either. The barbarism and superstition that succeeded the downfal of the Roman empire, and the system of ecclesiastical government erected in the western part of Europe, ...

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Chapter XIV. Alterations in the State of the Wittenagemote. Conclusion of the Saxon Period.

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pp. 184-192

The progressive changes in the state of property, and in the constitution and circumstances of the people, of which an account has been given, must have contributed, in many particulars, to alter the constitution and procedure of the Wittenagemote. As this national counsel was composed of all the allodial proprietors of land, ...

Volume II

Contents

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pp. 195-196

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Book II. Of the English Government from the Reign of William the Conqueror, to the Accession of the House of Stewart.

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pp. 197-198

The political history of this extensive period may be subdivided into three parts;1 the first extending from the Norman conquest to the end of the reign of Henry the third; the second, from the beginning of the reign of Edward the first, to the accession of Henry the seventh; and the third, comprehending the reigns of the Tudor family. ...

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Chapter I. The Norman Conquest.—Progress of the feudal System.—View of the several Reigns before that of Edward I.—The Great Charter, and Charter of the Forest.

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pp. 199-238

William the conqueror ascended the throne of England, partly by force of arms, and partly by the voluntary submission of the people. The great landed estates, acquired by a few individuals, towards the end of the Saxon government, had exalted particular nobles to such power and splendor, as rendered them, in some degree, rivals to the sovereign, ...

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Chapter II. In what Manner the Changes produced in the Reign of William the Conqueror affected the State of the national Council.

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pp. 239-249

The changes in the state of landed property, arising from the completion of the feudal system, in the reign of William the first, were necessarily attended with correspondent alterations in the constitution and powers of the national council. The Saxon Wittenagemote was composed of the allodial proprietors of land; the only set of men possessed of that independence which could create a right of interfering in the administration of public affairs. ...

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Chapter III. Of the ordinary Courts of Justice after the Norman Conquest.

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pp. 250-260

The distribution of justice, in the last resort, was not the most brilliant or conspicuous, though it was, undoubtedly, one of the most useful departments belonging to the national council. During the latter part of the Anglo- Saxon government, this branch of business was commonly devolved upon occasional meetings of the Wittenagemote; ...

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Chapter IV. Progress of Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Authority.

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pp. 261-269

The hierarchy of the western church grew up and extended itself over the kingdoms of Europe, independent of the boundaries which had been set to the dominion of secular princes, and of the revolutions which took place in the state of any civil government. ...

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Chapter V. General View of the kingly Power, from the Reign of Edward I. to that of Henry VII.

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pp. 270-287

The period of the English monarchy, from Edward the First to the accession of the house of Tudor, corresponds, with great exactness, to that of the French, from Philip the Fair to Lewis the Eleventh.1 About the beginning of these periods, the government, in each of those countries, assumed a degree of regularity unknown in former ages; ...

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Chapter VI. History of the Parliament in the same Period.

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pp. 288-325

Among the important subjects of inquiry, which distinguish the period of English history, from the accession of Edward the first to that of Henry the seventh, our first attention is naturally directed to the changes which affected the legislative power; by the introduction of representatives into parliament; ...

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Chapter VII. Alterations in the State of the ordinary Courts of Justice.

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pp. 326-372

The reign of Edward the first is no less distinguished by institutions of great importance relating to the distribution of justice, than by those which have been mentioned with regard to the legislative authority; and in both these particulars we may trace back to this period, the introduction of that regular system which we at present enjoy. ...

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Chapter VIII. Of the Circumstances which promoted Commerce, Manufactures, and the Arts, in modern Europe, and particularly in England.

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pp. 373-385

The commerce of the ancient world was confined, in a great measure, to the coasts of the Mediterranean and of the Red Sea. Before the invention of the mariner’s compass, navigators were afraid of venturing to a great distance from land, and in those narrow seas, found it easy, by small coasting expeditions, to carry on an extensive traffic. ...

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Chapter IX. Of Henry the Seventh.—Circumstances which, in his Reign, contributed to the Exaltation of the Crown.—Review of the Government of this Period.

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pp. 386-402

In the reign of Henry the seventh, the power of the crown, which had been gradually advancing from the Norman conquest, was exalted to a greater height than it had formerly attained. The circumstances which produced this alteration, either arose from the general state of the country, and the natural tendency of its government; ...

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Chapter X. Of Henry the Eighth.—The Reformation.—Its Causes.—The Effects of it upon the Influence of the Crown.

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pp. 403-411

Henry the eighth reaped the full benefit of those favourable circumstances which began to operate, and of that uniform policy which had been exerted, in the reign of his father. By uniting, at the same time, in the right of his father and mother, the titles of the two houses of York and Lancaster, he put an end to the remains of that political animosity which had so long divided the nation, ...

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Chapter XI. Of Edward the Sixth—Mary—and Elizabeth.—General Review of the Government.—Conclusion of the Period from the Norman Conquest to the Accession of the House of Stewart.

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pp. 412-432

By the minority of Edward the sixth,1 the ambitious designs of his father became entirely abortive. The administration was committed to a council of the nobles; who, from want of authority, from disagreement among themselves, or from the desire of popularity, were induced to retrench all the late extensions of the prerogative. ...

Volume III

Contents

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pp. 435-436

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Introduction

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pp. 437-442

From the accession of James the First to the English throne, we may date the commencement of what, in a former part of this inquiry, I have called the Commercial Government of England.1 The progress of commerce and manufactures had now begun to change the manners and political state of the inhabitants. ...

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Chapter I. Review of the Government of Scotland.

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pp. 443-484

As the union of the two crowns placed the administration of England and of Scotland in the same hands, we shall here turn our attention to the history of the latter country, and examine the leading features of its government. In this review, without entering into a long detail, it will be sufficient to point out the principal circumstances, ...

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Chapter II. Changes in the Political State of England from the Accession of the House of Stuart—The Advancement of Commerce and Manufactures—Institutions for National Defence—Different Effect of these in Britain, and upon the Neighbouring Continent.

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pp. 485-498

The accession of James the First to the English throne, while it gave rise to such remarkable changes in the state of his ancient hereditary dominions, became the source of great advantages, in common to both countries; from which, however, England, as the ruling power, derived the principal benefit. ...

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Chapter III. In what Manner the Political System was Affected by the State of Religious Opinions.

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pp. 499-509

In those European countries which embraced the doctrines of the reformation, religious disputes continued for some time to agitate the minds of men; and the different sects which became prevalent, or obtained consideration, were allied with different parties in the state. ...

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Chapter IV. Progress of the Disputes between the King and Parliament, during the Reigns of James I. and of Charles I.

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pp. 510-589

The long contest between the king and parliament, under the two first princes of the Stewart family, forms a very interesting part of the English history; and its origin and consequences deserve the most attentive examination. The object in dispute was no less than to determine and establish the political constitution of a great nation; ...

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Chapter V. Of Oliver Cromwell, and the Protectorate.

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pp. 590-608

The boldness, the dexterity, and the dissimulation of Cromwell, had been eminently successful in conducting those measures which had ended in the death of the king, and in bringing the whole kingdom under the power of the independents. But the talents of this profound politician, his enterprising spirit, and the extent of his designs, were yet far from being completely unfolded. ...

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Chapter VI. Of the Reign of Charles II. and James II.

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pp. 609-637

The restoration of Charles II.1 to the throne of his ancestors, was produced in such hurry and agitation of spirits as precluded every attention and precaution which prudence and deliberation would have suggested. The different parties who united in this precipitate measure, were too heterogeneous in their principles, ...

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Chapter VII. Of the Revolution-Settlement; and the Reign of William and Mary.

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pp. 638-664

Of all the great revolutions recorded in the history of ancient or of modern times, that which happened in England, in the year 1688, appears to have been productive of the least disorder, and to have been conducted in a manner the most rational, and consistent with the leading principles of civil society. ...

Volume IV

Contents

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pp. 667-668

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Chapter I. Review of the Government of Ireland.

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pp. 669-698

The connection between England and Ireland, which has now subsisted for many centuries, is a circumstance of great importance in the history of these two countries, and cannot, with propriety, be overlooked in a political survey of Great Britain. ...

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Chapter II. Political Consequences of the Revolution—Subsequent Changes in the State of the Nation—Influence of the Crown.

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pp. 699-712

The alterations made in the state of the government by what is called the revolution, in 1688, and by the other public regulations in the reign of William III. were judicious, moderate, and prudent. With a perfect adherence to the spirit, and with as little deviation as possible from the ancient forms of the constitution, ...

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Chapter III. The Advancement of Manufactures, Commerce, and the Arts, since the Reign of William III.; and the Tendency of this Advancement to diffuse a Spirit of Liberty and Independence.

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pp. 713-728

The natural advantages of England, in the cultivation of wool, having promoted her woollen manufacture, it was to be expected that her industry, and her capitals, derived from that source, would be communicated to other branches of labour, in which they might be employed with similar success. ...

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Chapter IV. How far the Advancement of Commerce and Manufactures has contributed to the Extension and Diffusion of Knowledge and Literature.

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pp. 729-739

It is natural to suppose that a proficiency in those practical arts, which multiply the necessaries and conveniencies of life will produce corresponding advances in general knowledge, and in the capacity of exercising the intellectual powers. Every practical art proceeds upon certain principles, discovered by experience and observation; ...

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Chapter V. The Separation of the different Branches of Knowledge; and the Division of the liberal Arts and of the Sciences.

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pp. 740-745

To explain the political changes, arising in commercial countries, from the progress of liberal education, it may be proper that we should examine more particularly the principal branches of knowledge which are likely to be cultivated, and to consider how far they will probably influence the opinions, the character, and manners of society. ...

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Chapter VI. The Effects of Commerce and Manufactures, and of Opulence and Civilization, upon the Morals of a People.

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pp. 746-786

That the dispositions and behaviour of man are liable to be influenced by the circumstances in which he is placed, and by his peculiar education and habits of life, is a proposition which few persons will be inclined to controvert. But how far this influence reaches, and what differences are to be found between the morals of rude and of civilized nations, it is not so easy to determine. ...

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Chapter VII. The Progress of Science relative to Law and Government.

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pp. 787-807

As the advancement of commerce and civilization tends to promote the virtue of strict justice, it of course disposes mankind to cultivate and improve the science of law. By attention and experience, and by a gradual refinement of their feelings, men attain a nicer discrimination in matters of right and wrong, ...

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Chapter VIII. The gradual Advancement of the Fine Arts—Their influence upon Government.

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pp. 808-838

The diversions and amusements of any people are usually conformable to the progress they have made in the common arts of life. Barbarians, who are much employed in fighting, and are obliged to procure subsistence, as well as to defend their acquisitions, by vigorous corporeal exertions, amuse themselves with mock fights, and with such contentions as display their strength, agility, and courage. ...

Appendix 1: Authorities Cited in the Text and in Millar’s Notes

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pp. 839-846

Appendix 2: Main Historiographical Sources for Millar’s Narrative to 1688

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pp. 847-854

Index

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pp. 855-890