I’ve been reading the new book on Edmund Burke by David Bromwich, a Professor at Yale (The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke: From the Sublime and Beautiful to American Independence). I’m struck by how everyone knows everyone in eighteenth-century London. When Burke wants to write a letter to congratulate Adam Smith on his Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759, he gets his address from David Hume. When he gives his first speech in the House of Commons, Samuel Johnson writes how pleased he is that ‘Now we who know Burke, know that he will be one of the first men in the country’. And one of his closest friends was Joshua Reynolds at whose house he endlessly arrived for dinner uninvited, imposing his poor Irish relations on Reynolds as well.