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Edward M. Spiers

This chapter emphasizes on an unprecedented challenge posed by the South African War on the Victorian army. The war eventually involved the services of 448,435 British and colonial troops in a series of major battlefield engagements, sieges, relief operations and protracted counter-guerrilla campaigns. Soldiers were chosen from the different parts of the United Kingdom as they served in distinguished local regiments and other arms, and came from localities with strong military connections, ensuring coverage of their exploits in the provincial press. The Boers launched their invasions of Natal and Cape Colony and began the investment of the strategic border towns of Mafeking and Kimberley when the war began on 11 October 1899. The 2/Gordons, 1/Gloucesters and 1/Devonshires were among the reinforcements sent from India and already deployed in Natal. The Scots and west country units would serve in the 47,000-man army corps sent from Britain under the command of Sir Redvers Buller. British soldiers had to adapt to the rigors of campaigning in South African conditions even before they faced the new realities of warfare.

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A race outcast from an outcast class

Claude McKay’s experience and analysis of Britain

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Winston James

Claude McKay ended his days hating England and the civilisation it represented. McKay journeyed from New York after an absence of more than seven years from his native Jamaica. He was the first Caribbean intellectual to describe what it meant to be black in Britain. His membership of the Workers' Socialist Federation (WSF) provided McKay with important insights into the politics of the metropolis. The International Socialist Club (ISC) had a two-fold impact upon McKay, one political, the other intellectual. In addition to the ISC and the 1917, McKay for a short time frequented a small club on Drury Lane specially established for non-white colonial and Afro-American soldiers. McKay described his time in London as ‘that most miserable of years’; an ‘ordeal’. His disappointment stems from his experience and from his expectations. He never complained of loneliness; he complained of hostility.

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The pulpit and the pen

Clergy, orality and print in the Scottish Gaelic world

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Donald Meek

This chapter examines primarily the role of the Protestant clergy in the Scottish Highlands as practitioners of the written word, especially in relation to the Gaelic language. It explores the manner in which literate clergymen governed and shaped the Gaelic culture by acting as the bridge-builders between oral and literary traditions, and as arbiters of literary taste and the providers of reading material for newly literate people. The chapter reflects on the ways in which the oral and literary traditions, working in different directions, influenced the corresponding products of the clergy, whether in the pulpit or at the writing-desk. Pre-Reformation clergymen who, like John Carswell himself, had accepted benefices in the reformed Church would have inherited much of the Classical Gaelic literary tradition, including literacy in the classical lingua franca. Carswell also provides a catechism which is largely his own composition and which lends itself to dramatic rendition.

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Publishing reason

John Toland and print and scribal communities

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Justin Champion

This chapter examines the role of John Toland in the print and scribal communities. Toland did more than simply read and write books: he was a key agent in disseminating ideas around the elite salons of early eighteenth-century Europe. His skill at manipulating both print and scribal works laid the foundation for his political ambitions: his literary transactions produced both cultural and political effects. The chapter describes how Toland manipulated and constructed diverse audiences for similar works, and discusses his attempts to communicate his ideas to powerful and politically effective communities.

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S.J. Barnett

This chapter discusses the significance of ‘misreadings’. Eighteenth-century participants and constituencies of interest could – wittingly or unwittingly – ‘misread’ the publications and events of the period, contributing to the origins of modern myths about the eighteenth century. The main discussion here, however, focuses on the role of public opinion in intellectual change on core Enlightenment topics such as toleration. The dominance of the top-down model of intellectual change has prevented due recognition of the role of the wider public in the formation of the idea of religious toleration. It is also asked whether it is appropriate for modern (or postmodern) historians to place modern definitions of religious toleration upon the shoulders of eighteenth-century thinkers. By doing so, historians invite anachronistic comparisons with the twenty-first century. Only by broadening the scope of Enlightenment studies beyond the traditional canon can one hope to grasp and investigate the intellectual dynamic of the Enlightenment.

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Public infidelity and private belief?

The discourse of spirits in Enlightenment Bristol

Jonathan Barry

This chapter is concerned with the possible divergence of public and private responses in 'the discourse of spirits' and the implications of this for understanding of the decline in the 'public discourse' of witchcraft, magic and the supernatural during the eighteenth century. In a relatively free society where public opinion and its correlate, market demand, were held to be superior to professional or state control, the discourse of empiricism and enlightenment was open for appropriation by all sides. The evidence presented in the chapter suggests instead both that public discourse may be only an approximate guide to private belief, dependent on the rules of public debate, but also that those very rules of public debate may themselves have moulded private belief, at least in the longer term.

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Pro exoneratione sua propria coscientia

Magic, witchcraft and Church in early eighteenth-century Capua

Augusto Ferraiuolo

The pro exoneratione sua propria coscientia seems to delineate deep penitential lines of contrition and of repentance, which are approached as a sacramental practice, and demonstrates the depth and capillary social control of the Church in eighteenth-century Italy. The exoneratione sua coscientia reveals the formalities of social control employed by the Church through the tool of the confession. This chapter is concerned with accusations of magic, which were formalised as denunciations heard by the Inquisition of the Archdiocese of Capua, a city twelve miles north of Naples, during the first half of the eighteenth century. It examines the stylistic and rhetorical mechanisms that emerge from the documents. The chapter approaches the records as texts rather than as accusations. The Inquisitional documents used in the chapter consist of narratives describing instances of magical practices, and the reasons why people decided to denounce others who were involved in such activities.

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Heloise Brown

This chapter reviews the study of the Peace Society and suggests that it was simply impractical to expect pacifists divided by Christianity in the peace principle to work together. Yet the work of one of the most active women in the late nineteenth-century peace movement demonstrates that it was possible for absolute pacifists to work closely with non-absolutists, even when differences of opinion and principle occurred. Priscilla Peckover provides a key example of interorganisational co-operation, especially in respect of the mass movement she generated: the Local Peace Associations. Her methods of working drew upon both Quaker ideals and domestic ideology. In contrast to the Peace Society's approach, which was often both defensive and, to some extent, uncooperative, Peckover was influenced by gendered norms of behaviour that, when combined with her Quaker background and the context of the peace movement, gave rise to more collaborative and conciliatory methods.

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Susan M. Johns

This chapter discusses the difficulties of analysing images of noblewomen in contradictory sources at a time when the historical discourse was evolving, owing to broader societal cultural shifts. It is also concerned with the difficulty of measuring the power of noblewomen, given the complexities of the sources. Orderis Vitalis' view of women's power in the context of their political and warlike activity, like his view of men, is ambiguous, and by no means monolithic. Orderic's portrayal of Mabel of Bellême is reflective of both contemporary clerical distrust of women in power and the nature of contemporary politics in Normandy. William of Malmesbury shows the role of wives in supporting their husbands in 1141. The Countess Mabel of Gloucester, or Nichola de la Haye acted as powerful individuals at the heart of the power structures of the aristocratic and noble élite of the twelfth century.

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The poor in England 1700–1850

An economy of makeshifts

Edited by: Steven King and Alannah Tomkins

This book investigates the experience of English poverty between 1700 and 1900 and the ways in which the poor made ends meet. It represents the single most significant attempt in print to supply the English 'economy of makeshifts' with a solid, empirical basis and to advance the concept of makeshifts to a precise delineation. The book attempts to explain how and when the poor secured access to these makeshifts and suggest how the balance of these strategies might change over time or be modified by gender, life-cycle and geography. It begins with the general and particular ways in which 'makeshifts' might be constructed, examining the rural agricultural poor and the shifting hierarchy of 'Fuel, dole and bread'. The book confirms the paltry allowances awarded through the poor law and implicitly contrasts them with the relatively generous schemes operated by individual and institutionalised charities such as the Quakers in Lancashire rural communities. Voluntary charity in the makeshift economy is discussed in the context of cultural implications of incorporating charity within survival strategies. The book then tackles the complicated relationship between poverty and social crime by looking at both contemporary published opinion and the evidence of the courts. A survey of pamphlet literature touching on credit, debt and pawnbroking reveals that outspoken, damning criticisms of pawnbrokers were often repeated but rarely qualified by any consideration of the cash flow exigencies of poverty. Finally a micro-study of the Lancashire township of Cowpe illustrates both the quantity and complexity of the makeshift economy.