Improving justice: Communities of norms in the Great Transformation

James Livesey (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    In 1775 William Pultenay suffered the loss of his childless English cousin and so acquired the charge of the estates and title of the Earl of Bath. On removing to England he left the management of his own estate of Solway Bank in his native Scotland in the hands of John Maxwell, a theoretical improver, whom he made factor. Their extensive correspondence reveals to us Maxwell's education into the nature of change in rural Scotland. He began his work with the assumption that the impediment to efficiency and economic rationality was the farmers: Country people such as we have in this place in the world, constantly accustomed to enter farms exhausted by the unrestrained licence allowed their predecessors, and to labour only to the easiest and most immediate produce, cannot by any means be brought to raise their ideas to the advantages of entering to a well-conditioned farm, nor to look upon restraints to regular husbandry, such as your tacks [leases] preserve, in any other light than as so many drawbacks to their profit. His solution to this problem was one familiar to students of landlord-tenant relations and physiocratic economic theory; he proposed that leases should more exactly specify the methods farmers should use and the powers retained by the landlord and his agent over the farms: ‘I am humbly of the opinion that the person employ'd should be daily going about the farms, observing the conduct of the tenants, and chequing abuses, which should be daily committed, or attempted to be committed.’

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMarkets in Historical Contexts
    Subtitle of host publicationIdeas and Politics in the Modern World
    EditorsMark Bevir, Frank Trentmann
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Number of pages21
    ISBN (Electronic)9780511496677
    ISBN (Print)0521833558, 9780521833554
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Arts and Humanities


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