By J. G. A. Pocock
During this first quantity, The Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon, John Pocock follows Gibbon via his younger exile in Switzerland and his criticisms of the Encyclop?die and lines the expansion of his historic pursuits right down to the perception of the Decline and Fall itself.
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Extra resources for Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 1: The Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon, 1737-1764
E. Pococke, ), (d’Herbelot), (Howell, –), (Ockley, ). ⁴⁸ Echard, , , ‘the Author’s Preface’, sig. ’ Howel[l] had died in . ⁵⁰ That reign, with the adoption of Christianity as the imperial religion and the removal of the capital to the new city on the Bosphorus, was generally held to mark the end of Roman history as classically conceived: the end of republic and principate, of pagan philosophy and literature. It is the point reached by the fourteenth chapter, and before the end of the ﬁrst volume, of the Decline and Fall, and Gibbon like his predecessors faced the problem of continuing past this turning-point a history which must still be called Roman.
D. Clark, , Brewer, and Langford, . Putney, Oxford and English Enlightenment sedately towards liberty, prosperity and empire. It attained all three of these things, but it bought them at a high price in dynastic and religious instability, ﬁnancial and political turmoil. The salient facts in Gibbon family history are that Edward Gibbon I had been a director of the South Sea Company, a Tory ﬁnancial project set up to counter the Whig giants of the Bank of England and the East India Company, and on its collapse had been ﬁned of most of his possessions by a vengeful parliament; that Edward Gibbon II had been a closet, a futile but not an inactive Jacobite at least as late as ;⁵ that Edward Gibbon III grew up in a religiously divided ambience, and that the ﬁrst crucial occurrence of his career was a conversion to Catholicism as an undergraduate of sixteen.
The major studies by Giarrizzo, , and Baridon, , to which extensive reference will be made, are intellectual histories of the formation of Gibbon’s mind and work, not quite the same as biographies. ³ Low, pp. , . Cf. Craddock, EGLH, p. , where Gibbon’s aldermanic birth becomes Walpole’s explanation of his willingness to serve North’s government. For Gibbon’s view of Walpole, ‘that ingenious triﬂer’, see English Essays, pp. –. ⁴ For the questions of how far Hanoverian Britain may be termed an ancien re´gime, and whether the term itself is currently being used coherently, compare, contrast and reconcile J.