A mythical conversation
An Essay and a Vie
in Ideas of monarchical reform
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This chapter discusses the first phase of Ramsay’s political works: the Essay de Politique (1719), Essay philosophique sur le gouvernement civil (1721) and the Vie de Fénelon (1723). It shows how Ramsay deliberately infused French theories of absolutism, specifically from Bossuet, to provide a robust British monarchy that could withstand revolution. Attacking the Glorious Revolution, the Whigs and parliamentary corruption, Ramsay claimed to use the political principles of Fénelon in order to promote a Jacobite restoration to the throne of Britain. Linking with the earlier contextual chapters, Ramsay’s deception is here uncovered while setting out the innovations in his methodology as well as his influences. A detailed analysis is offered of his reformed monarchy aided by an aristocratic senate. This model would aim to extirpate the British Parliament in favour of a form of centralised monarchy exemplified by Charles II.

Ideas of monarchical reform

Fénelon, Jacobitism and the political works of the Chevalier Ramsay


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