Pirates, Piracy & Smuggling

The Real Pirates Of The Caribbean - Marcus Rediker Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh (USA) and the author of The Many Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea : Merchant Seamen, Pirates and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700-1750, Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age and this year The Slave Ship: A Human History. Marcus Rediker explores the 'Golden Age' of […]

Smugglers 2: The West Country

Smugglers: Radicals Or Romantic - Kevin Davis Easton Cowboy and refugee from Dorset, Kevin claims to have left his life of wrecking and smuggling behind in his hometown of Poole. But who knows? 'Official' history tells us that the smugglers of the 18th and 19th century were shadowy, brutal thugs, a threat to the economy, law and order and moral fabric of a whole nation. Yet popular culture then as now celebrates these same figures as brave, cunning and noble folk heroes. Using the case study of […]

Smugglers 1: Custom Becomes Crime

Custom Becomes Crime, Crime Becomes Culture: The Sea Related Informal Economies From Feudalism To Capitalism - Trevor Bark Troublemaker and academic from the North East, Trevor is on the editorial board of Capital and Class. He is an expert on the social history of crime and author of papers such as 'Crime becomes Custom, Custom becomes Crime'. This talk describes the inter-related nature of the sea based informal economies through time, and in the process drawing out important characteristics. […]

The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the 18th Century

By Edward Thompson
Available as a PDF file here. This paper is famous, so I thought I better read it and I was not disappointed. Thompson is at his cheeky best, starting the article by taking the piss out of anthropologists and their complex analyses of 'exotic' cultures whilst the English working class is reduced to disorganised, amoral, sub-humans by historians. Thompson analyses the corn and bread 'riots' of the 18th century and not only shows their popular character but also the organised and often successful […]

Albion’s Fatal Tree

Crime and Society in 18th Century England

By Hay, Linebaugh, Rule, Thompson, Winslow
Albion's Fatal Tree : Crime and Society in 18th Century England
Classic set of essays shattering the illusion of a tranquil 18th Century full of happy peasants and deferential workers promoted by establishment historians. From poaching wars to smugglers, wreckers and rioters these essays provide the hard evidence for the raging class war of the period. E.P.Thompson's study on the 'incendiary letter' is absolute quality and will still send shivers up the spine of the wealthy…(BRHG)

Liberty Against the Law

Some 17th Century Controversies

By Christopher Hill
Liberty Against the Law : Some 17th Century Controversies
Christopher Hill was getting on a bit when he wrote this but he clearly still had lots of stuff to get out there. What a source book he has produced. Hill shows that barely a fifth of the population were content with a legal system which was enclosing the commons, crushing customary rights and creating a class of landless labourers. Highwaymen, pirates, gypsies, vagabonds, levellers and religious radicals (amongst others) fight these changes creating their own culture of resistance in the […]

Cotswold Tobacco Growing

Not Exactly A Digger Thing? Notes from Jim McNeill's lecture during the Smugglers 1 events at Bristol Radical History Week 2007. 1598: In the House of Lords by Lord Harris, asked that English and Irish farmers might be permitted to test whether tobacco could be produced in this country at a profit. 1619: A London merchant, John Stratford, purchased spare land in and around Winchcombe and planted tobacco. See next section of these notes. 1619: Act banning Tobacco growing in England passed — just […]

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