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Man of Mercury:

The Mind of Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke

By S.W. Jackman

Man of Mercury

Man of Mercury:

The Mind of Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke

By S.W. Jackman

A fascinating account of the life and thought of one of the leading Tory figures of the Georgian era.

Trade Information: LPOD
Available as: Paperback

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Print Paperback

ISBN: 9780718891527

Specifications: 216x140mm, 174pp

Published: June 2004


Dr. Jackman examines the fascinating life of Viscount Bolingbroke, his political, literary and personal achievements, and presents a determined and powerful man who was equally fallible and vain. This masterly reconstruction recreates the man and his times, and portrays a character with whom we can all identify. The author refutes the belief that Bolingbroke was the progenitor of George III's 'Constitutional Experiment' and sets his subject among the number of those 'true conservatives' who do not beget a school of followers.

Yet Bolingbroke occupies a special position in that he attempted to define a conservative political philosophy – perhaps the only speculative politician to do this reasonably successfully.

The author examines in detail the different aspects of Bolingbroke's thought and shows that, far from trying to put back the historical clock, this leading Tory of the Augustan Age was at one with the rationalist, empirical movement of his day.

Of all the great 18th century personalities, Bolingbroke has been the most depreciated and neglected. There has been little attempt to give a general estimation of his ideas on philosophy, history and politics. Dr. Jackman's book addresses this deficiency. Bolingbroke left a definite mark upon English History, and whether his career is to be admired or regretted, it cannot be ignored.

Author's Foreword
Introduction by Sir Charles Petrie

1. Life and Political Career
2. On History
3. On Religion and Philosophy
4. On Society and Government
5. On Political Parties
6. On 'The Patriot King'
7. Bolingbroke's Place in the English Political Tradition

Select Bibliography

S.W. Jackman is a retired professor of history from St Edmund's College Cambridge, where he spends six months every year. The rest of the year he spends in British Columbia. His education has been extensive, including a Ph.D. (Harvard); D.Litt. (Hon) (University of Lethbridge); D.Litt. (Hon) (University of Victoria); Professor of History, Emeritus, University of Victoria; and Fellow Commoner, St. Edmund's College, University of Cambridge.

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