For the good and glory of the whole': Scoto-British improvement in the Highlands, 1778-1822

McCullough, Katie Louise
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University of Guelph

Some historians have argued that during the Enlightenment Scottish elites removed the history of Scottish Gaeldom that had once defined the nation of Scotland and adopted, instead, an Anglo-British identity. These elites provided the ideological underpinnings of an improvement program designed to erase Highland difference. However, using a case study of the Highland Society of London and the Highland Society of Scotland, this thesis argues that a 'concentric loyalty' allowed some Scottish elites to comfortably conceive of their identity as both Scottish and British, or 'Scoto-British'. These Scots created a strategy for improvement in the Highlands that sought not only to improve the Highlands and Islands of Scotland economically but to also preserve certain elements of Highland culture and traditions, which were perceived to be rapidly disappearing. Therefore there existed relevant intellectual support for Gaelic history and culture in this time period that has been largely overlooked in the historiography.

Scoto-British improvements, Highlands, Improve, Concentric loyality, Preserve