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Unusual SuspectsPitt's Reign of Alarm and the Lost Generation of the 1790s$
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Kenneth R. Johnston

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657803.001.0001

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The Great Apostate: Judas, Brutus, or Thomas?

The Great Apostate: Judas, Brutus, or Thomas?

James Mackintosh (1765–1832)

Chapter:
(p.205) 11 The Great Apostate: Judas, Brutus, or Thomas?
Source:
Unusual Suspects
Author(s):

Kenneth R. Johnston

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657803.003.0011

James Mackintosh was the literary lion of the early 1790s, for Vindiciae Gallicae (1791), his carefully reasoned reply to Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution. At the other end of the decade, his lectures on The Law of Nature and of Nations, 1799–1800, created an equal sensation as the most celebrated public recantation of former enthusiasm for the revolution. Known as ‘the Whig Cicero,’ Mackintosh often let his brilliant rhetoric run away with him. In 1793, he still spoke with liberal fervor, attacking Pitt’s Apostasy from the Cause of Parliamentary Reform. An arranged meeting with Burke in 1795 led him to reassess his political judgements. Members of the government began to regard Mackintosh as someone who could be useful to their propaganda efforts. However, his appointment as Recorder of Bengal was not a direct pay-off for his change of heart, though he did want to ‘come in from the cold’ for career reasons.

Keywords:   James Mackintosh, French Revolution, Political apostasy, Recantation, Renegadism

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