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Enlightenment's FrontierThe Scottish Highlands and the Origins of Environmentalism$
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Fredrik Albritton Jonsson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300162547

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300162547.001.0001

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Introduction: The Enlightenment in the Peat Moss

Introduction: The Enlightenment in the Peat Moss

(p.1) Introduction: The Enlightenment in the Peat Moss
Enlightenment's Frontier

Fredrik Albritton Jonsson

Yale University Press

This book tells the story of how the mountains and peat mosses of Scotland became a laboratory for the Enlightenment. Hugh Graeme's extraordinary method of “moss husbandry” was part of a wave of various improvement projects between 1750 and 1820, which included the veteran colonies of the Annexed Estates, the planned villages of the British Fisheries Society, the larch plantations of the Duke of Atholl, and the Caledonian Canal between Inverness and Fort William. The unpredictable changes brought about by imperial conflict marked the beginning and end of northern improvement. When large-scale military recruitment began in the Highlands during the Seven Years' War, landowners and intellectuals came to see the region as a home for military virtue that required careful protection and cultivation. After the loss of the American colonies in 1783, a more liberal impulse gained the upper hand.

Keywords:   peat mosses, Enlightenment, Hugh Graeme, moss husbandry, northern improvement, imperial conflict, Seven Years' War

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