Volumes 2 and 3 of The Correspondence of Thomas Hutchinson offer a glimpse into the mind of British America's best known and perhaps most influential loyalist. They reveal his interpretations of the extent of Parliamentary authority and the scope of colonial liberties; his critical views of his patriot opponents; his professional aspirations for himself and his family; and his interpretation of what we recognize as the pivotal moments in the escalating conflict between the colonies (but mostly Boston) and the British Parliament. Their greatest utility, however, lies in the insight they provide into his view of how the empire both should and must work; here, his views depart from the strict ideological constructs that dominate most modern historical interpretation of the period in favor of a studied pragmatism that highlights a vernacular empire, or one constructed around the...

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