ABSTRACT

The contribution of the group of Scottish-educated intellectuals who, from 1802, were associated with the Edinburgh Review is generally regarded as one of the pioneering sources of nineteenth-century British liberalism. The Corporation and Test Acts were unrepealed. Writing about one of the founders of the Review, Sydney Smith, Walter Bagehot observed: Sydney Smith was liberalism in life. Significantly, other Scottish intellectuals who shared a similar background ended up in different political camps: this was the case of James Mill and Walter Scott. If the relations between the Edinburgh Review and the Whig Party were ambivalent, the measures of reform which they endorsed in the first decades of the nineteenth century formed an even more confusing and contradictory picture. On the whole, there was something paradoxical in the relation which the reviewers entertained with the tradition of political economy.