We must always allow that there should be limits to wildness.

Looking to the west, North America was uncivilised; its people were noble savages – but we must balance any vision of America as a new Eden, against an understandable caution, for its rawness and its natives rendered it as often contemptible as noble – ‘creeping upon all fours like bears’ and living in hog-sties – sometimes you can’t put a cigarette paper between them and the Irish.

In his attempt to forecast the development of the new world, the radical Richard Price did not hanker after the preservation of its golden age, but prayed that it would remain ‘in that middle state of civilisation, between its first rude state and its last refined and corrupt state.’ To have gone back to that ‘first rude state’, would in Adam Smith’s view have been equivalent to returning England to the days of Julius Caesar, and no one wished for that, drawing instead on the increasing sophistication of 18th century English culture.

Look east on the other hand, and we see China, where wildness was intensely designed and controlled. It could encourage the embrace of the wild by landscape, but in a mediated form. It was permissible.