Hutton lived in a time of great intellectual activity to which we know
he contributed as a free and independent thinker. He will also inevitably
have been influenced by his peers. His thinking resonates with topical
issues and much still fascinates;
He was an early advocate of better education for women ‘the
culture of the fair sex is necessary of the perfection of the state’
, which was picked-up by John Playfair in his biography of Hutton,
‘One in particular deserves notice, in which he treats of the importance
of the female character to society, in a state of high civilisation’.
On the free-market and agriculture
He felt agriculture was too important to be left to the chance of market
forces “the husbandman maintains the nation
in all it’s ease, it’s affluence and it’s splendour”.
He was interestingly at odds with his friend Adam
Smith, one can but imagine the arguments and discussions they would
have had at the Oyster Club.
On labour relations and the importance of a trained
He believed labourers could be made more efficient by careful training
and supervision, proper tools and the division of labour
He believed strongly in the dissemination of information, he was very
forward thinking and he made a connection between agriculture and the
Death is …only the termination of a mode of
thought…a passage from one condition of thought to another…(and
therefore), the existence of the mind after death
Hutton was a deist;
therefore religion and geology were mutually supportive. Deism was popular
with 18th century intellectuals in Britain and Europe. Deism was more
an ‘attitude’ than a religion and is based on ‘natural
religion’ or an instinctive religion which they believed to be inborn
in every person and is exercised through reason rather than knowledge.
It was influenced by three principal concerns; faith in human reason,
God as the architect for a rational ordered world and finally growing
distrust in religious dogma based on revelation leading to intolerance.