Archive for the ‘18th century’ Category

Early modern crime links

February 9, 2006

Thanks to Sharon’s comment I now know the locations of lots of juicy online documents. At this very moment I am jumping up and down and getting all excited about Virtual Norfolk. Let’s see now, what else is there. . .

Ah ha, we have the Powys digital history project. That looks good.

There’s also lots of good stuff on Gathering the Jewels. Some of these websites are vaguely familiar to me, but I was always so busy with the thesis that I never looked at them properly.

There’s hours of fun in the Newgate calendar. Also a reference that might interest Harry Potter fans.

The first line of this extract from Ralph Josselin’s diary made me giggle. I don’t know if the drunkard was a friend of his. My first picture was of a very tottery male stranger just wandering in.

Bewail the horridness of this one.

Oh my. I still don’t know what Cony Catcher means though. Is Cony= rabbit = coniglio?

I’ve managed to answer my question of this morning, although I’m not going to say exactly how because it might not work. It’s a method that allows me to learn, rearrange and re-present. It’s not conventional scholarship but I couldn’t expect to do that in these new areas without access to books. 


The Harlot’s Progress on Radio 4

February 7, 2006

Go here for an introduction to Hogarth’s famous series The Harlot’s Progress and the drama it inspired.

Proceedings of the Old Bailey

February 5, 2006

The proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674-1834 can be found online here. What a brilliant idea! Hat tip to Pilgrim/Heretic and the latest edition of Carnivalesque.

Very brief notes on 17th-century shopping

January 31, 2006

The first chapter in Linda Levy Peck’s Consuming Splendor is about shopping for luxury goods in 17th-century London. I found it to be a very enjoyable read and it would do well as a set text for courses on early modern consumption.

I think we’re all aware that 17th-century aristocrats had a lot of stuff. You only have to look at an old portrait to see that they set great store in expensive clothing. As Levy Peck notes: “Painters often painted the clothes not the person.” (p.25) It’s interesting to read about where they got it from. One very interesting fact about luxury in 17th-century England is that quite a bit of it depended on contact with the outside world. Levy Peck quotes a shop boy in Ben Jonson’s The Entertainment at Britain’s Burse: (p.50)

“What do you lack? What is’t you buy? Very fine China stuffs, of all kinds and qualities? China chains, China bracelets, China scarves, China fans, China girdles, China knives, China boxes, China cabinets. . .’

Silk came from China but it was also cultivated in mainland Europe. In Chapter 2 Levy Peck deals with the attempt made by James I of England to start a domestic silk industry.

Going back to chapter 1, I particularly like it because Levy Peck tells us what it was like to shop in the New Exchange and the Royal Exchange. “Historians have ascribed the emergence of luxury retail shopping, separated from manufactures, to the eighteenth century or the late seventeenth century when, in fact, it can be found much earlier. . . . Thomas Gresham’s Royal Exchange, which opened in the City in 1570, proved a new departure in luxury consumption.” (p.45)  In 1609 James I opened the New Exchange just off the Strand (the Strand is near Trafalgar Square). Levy Peck writes: “The New Exchange marked a significant departure in consuming because of its location: it was suburban (i.e. outside the City) and private, a shopping mall located close to the court and to new aristocratic housing that Salisbury and the Earl of Bedford developed in St.Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, and elsewhere in the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields.’ (p.46)

“The architecture of shopping at the New Exchange provides important surprises. Shopping took place both on the piano nobile and at street level. Seats and benches were built into the outer wall next to the street and an Office of Assurance at the Burse was furnished with wainscoting. At ground level, the street was newly paved. We might, therefore, expect shops at ground level to be the most coveted and to pay the the highest rents. Later in the seventeenth century expanses of plate glass invited window shopping. But the rents for shops on the lower level, facing the street, were the lowest. . . According to the New Exchange leases of 1633, the most prized shops were those on the upper level and in the interior, especially the larger shops at the corners. Most shops were 10 or 11 feet in length, but the corner shops were 15 feet.” (p.51/52)

Overall Consuming Splendor makes at least three important points. As mentioned above, luxury shopping did not begin in the long eighteenth century. Secondly, the civil war did not stop retail growth. Finally, Levy Peck claims that as the new retail spaces became important public meeting places they can be counted alongside coffee houses (which sprouted up from the mid-17th century onwards and were full of gossip and political discussion) as a part of the public sphere.

This is a bit of a hurried, random and rambling review of Consuming Splendor, but at least now you know it exists, and you can go and have a look at it if it’s the sort of thing you like.


James II & the Jacobites

January 29, 2006

When Charles II died in 1685 his brother James II inherited the throne. James II was a Catholic and because of this fact just a few years earlier the Whigs had made concerted efforts to exclude him from the succession. This attempt is known as the Exclusion Crisis. Despite this James II inherited the throne without any problems. It was only later in his brief reign when he tried to force through policies improving the situation of Catholics (but not harming Protestants in any way) that opposition seriously built up.

The Declaration of Indulgence was a major turning point in the reign. In 1687 and 1688 the declaration was released proclaiming freedom of worship for Catholics and Protestant dissenters. James II ordered that the Declaration be read in all churches but in 1688 seven Anglican bishops (the Church of England was the country’s official church) submitted a petition against the order. James ordered them to be imprisoned for seditious libel but they were found innocent at their trial. The seven bishops received a great deal of support from the general population and were seen as symbols of the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688.

James II was tolerated because his two daughters (later Mary II and Queen Anne) were Protestants. This meant that the throne would revert to a Protestant heir after James’ death. The situation changed in 1688 when James II’s second wife Mary of Modena gave birth to a Catholic son. As a boy he became first in line to the throne and neither Mary or Anne would inherit unless he died without children. James II’s opponents believed in a rumour that the boy was not James II’s son and that he had been sneaked into the royal bedchamber in a warming pan. This opposition print shows Mary with her baby. The lascivious looking man behind her is one of James II’s Jesuit priests (I forget his name, possibly Father Peter). Of course this is anti-Catholic propaganda that tries to slur the heir’s legitimacy by suggesting that his mother had improper relations with a Catholic priest.

The end of James II’s reign came when seven of his opponents sent an invitation to William of Orange. William of Orange was the husband of Mary, the second in line to the throne, and as her cousin he also had some claim in his own right. James’ opponents were not asking William to depose James II. Instead they wanted William to assume control of the country and persuade the Catholic king to reverse his less popular policies.

It is not known exactly when William of Orange decided to take the crown for himself. James II made matters remarkably easy for him by fleeing to France. It is likely that he did this because he wished to avoid his father’s fate. Charles I had been imprisoned and then executed during the civil war. William and Mary became joint monarchs and were succeeded in 1702 by Mary’s sister Anne. When Anne died she did not have any children so the crown went to distant Protestant relatives in the German Electorate of Hanover.

James II lived in exile in France until his death in 1701. He had tried to regain the throne by invading Ireland with the aid of French troops but they were defeated at the Battle of the Boyne. When Anne died in 1714 James’ son, now James III, attempted to take the crown in the unsuccessful uprising of 1715. Finally in 1745-46 James II’s grandson Charles Edward Stuart made one last unsuccessful attempt to seize the throne by invading Scotland. This In Our Time programme examines the final attempt and asks whether Bonnie Prince Charlie really stood a chance.

The supporters of James II, James Francis Edward Stuart and Charles Edward Stuart are known as Jacobites. They could be found both inside the British Isles and in exile with the Stuart court on mainland Europe. They promoted their cause with propanda texts and images including portrait prints. Further details of the circulation of Stuart portrait prints can be found in Richard Sharp’s The Engraved Record of the Jacobite Movement (1996).