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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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The Moral Geography of Scotland

The Moral Geography of Scotland

(p.11) 1 The Moral Geography of Scotland
Enlightenment's Frontier

Fredrik Albritton Jonsson

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on the world of enlightened improvement that inspired the drainage scheme at Blair Drummond. It begins at the Select Society of Edinburgh, the premier venue for intellectual debates in Scotland in the period of the Seven Years' War. The savants and literati convened here to discuss the advantages and risks of commercialization, in which the judge James Burnett, Lord Monboddo, and Presbyterian minister Robert Wallace promoted a mode of husbandry that maximized the number of people working the land. This intellectual agenda carried over into the newly established Board for the Annexed Estates, a government body set up to manage the confiscated properties of Jacobite rebels. This blend of debate, field work, and estate management led to a vision of spade husbandry as a counterweight that balanced the social costs associated with conventional forms of agricultural improvement.

Keywords:   enlightened improvement, drainage scheme, Blair Drummond, Select Society, James Burnett, Lord Monboddo, Robert Wallace, Annexed Estates, Jacobite rebels, spade husbandry

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