This chapter reassembles the history of the practice of church government in the Province of London between June 1646 and August 1660. It argues that the critical factor in understanding the history of the Province of London was not institutional, but rather personal. The true backbone of London presbyterian government was not institutional foundation or authority, but the collective dedication of the London presbyterian laity and clergy to the cause of further reformation. The chapter explores the election of ruling elders, the operation of the presbyterian classes and provincial assembly and attempts to instil presbyterian discipline.
This chapter explores the radicalisation of London’s moderate puritans during the period 1637–40 in the wake of the crisis that erupted in the Churches of England and Scotland under the Laudian administration of the 1630s. It then turns to the godly ministers’ mobilisation of opposition to the Canons of 1640. This opposition revitalised the godly clergy as a political force and ushered in a somewhat cautious movement seeking further reformation of the polity of the Church of England.
This chapter explores the London presbyterians and the politics of the restoration of the Stuart monarchy. It examines how they sought to negotiate the re-establishment of order in the English church out of the chaos of the immediate post-Cromwellian period. This ultimately led the presbyterians to make compromises that would be fatal to both presbyterianism and the reformation of English church order begun in 1640.
The chapter provides a presbyterian reading of the ‘Smectymnuus’ tracts and situates these works in the alliance of godly clergy who were meeting at Edmund Calamy’s house in Aldermanbury. The chapter explores the pre-civil war puritan thought on church polity. It also analyses how this Aldermanbury group joined the parliamentarian mobilisation against Charles I’s administration in the spring and summer of 1641. Nevertheless, there was a lack of consensus on issues of religion and church polity and these issues were also circumscribed by what was politically possible in that year. The chapter looks at the attempts in spring and early summer 1641 to reach a consensual settlement of religion. When this failed, the summer debates over the so-called ‘Root and Branch’ bill saw various models for the national church being aired. These debates ultimately revealed deep tensions among those seeking to reform the Church of England. The chapter concludes by exploring the emerging divisions among the godly on the issue of the proper location of power in church government and how, in light of those divisions, the parliamentarian clergy closest to the opposition to Charles I’s administration struggled to maintain unity, if not consensus, in the fight against prelacy.
London and early links with the English East India companies
The chapter analyses the ways in which individuals and networks of Scots, Irish and Welsh became increasingly involved in the English East India Company after the 1690s. While Scotland and Ireland faced restrictions in contact with the Atlantic colonies until 1707 and 1780 respectively, this hemisphere of the British Empire was always more open than its equivalent in Asia. The monopoly of the various iterations of the English East India Company restricted access to Asia, a situation compounded in the case of Scots by the failure of the Company of Scotland by 1700. The realities of this regulatory framework meant that London ultimately became much more central to Scottish, Welsh, and Irish participation in Asia than was the case in the Atlantic empire. Understanding how the East India Company was accessed involves appreciating how expatriates from provincial backgrounds located in London started to connect networks in their place of origin with the corporation’s directors. This process evolved slowly. Welsh and Irish networks held an initial advantage over those from Scotland as the city played a more significant role in these societies for the purposes of professional training. However, by the 1740s an increasing number of Scots merchant, financiers, professionals and artisans based in London were sponsoring the Asia careers of associates from Scotland. This was not just conventional patronage but can be understood as the brokering of ‘human capital’. This mode of investment constituted a form of provincial ‘gentry capitalism’, which complemented the City of London ‘gentlemanly capitalist’ economy.
The chapter explores the processes by which Scots, Irish and Welsh began to appear as shareholders and directors of the East India Company. The analysis initially considers the relatively marginal Irish, Scots and Welsh presence among the shareholders and directors. It is noticeable that metropolitan provincials tended to secure positions on the directorate after returning from successful careers in Asia. This trajectory of accessing London via the empire explains the careers of a number of important directors. It encompassed figures as diverse as the Irish and Welsh military officers Sweny Toone and William Jones, the Irish free merchant Robert Gregory, the Scots Company civil servant Charles Grant, the free merchant David Scott and the East Indiaman commander William Fullerton-Elphinstone. Despite these similar pathways to involvement at the apex of the Company, the number of Scots acquired directorships was noticeably higher. This had major implications for the sponsorship of clients into the employment in Asia. The chapter conceives of such patronage was a form of ‘brokering human capital’, with local networks connecting to the metropole through the directors. The reconstruction of almost two thousand instances of patronage demonstrates that a conspicuous climate of favouritism towards networks, families and individuals from the director’s place or region of origin. With more directors with Scottish backgrounds able to undertake this function of mobilising human wealth, substantially greater numbers of Scots found their way into the elite sectors of employment compared to the Welsh or Irish.
The chapter explores the growing participation of Scots, Irish and Welsh in the East India Company’s medical sector. Despite access to similar educational opportunities either in Dublin, Edinburgh and London, Scots significantly outnumbered the other two national groups, both in overall and in per capita terms. With around 20 percent of all such posts throughout the eighteenth century, the acquisition by Scots of medical posts expanded to between 35 percent and 45 percent in the 1790s to 1810s. The chapter explores how patterns of professional mobility and phases of education in the provinces, in London and in Asia enabled surgeons to enhance their human capital. They sought to ‘realise’ this form of wealth through publication strategies and the maintenance of links with institutions such as Trinity College Dublin, Marischal College, Aberdeen and the University of Edinburgh. In this way, imperial service in Asia shaped the timing and tone of medical enlightenment in the metropolitan provinces.
The chapter surveys the timing and nature of Irish, Scottish and Welsh involvement in the English East India Company’s elite commercial, administrative and merchant shipping sectors. Personnel in these areas of the corporation were never especially numerous, with only 3,393 civil servants securely identified between 1690 and 1813. In this context of elite but limited opportunities, the movement of Irish, Scots and Welsh into corporate employment developed slowly. In both the civil service and among the merchant marine officers of the Company’s fleet, metropolitan provincial numbers remained insignificant until the 1740s and 1750s. During the 1690s and early 1700s, London-based expatriates from Wales were able to sponsor clients into the civil service at a greater per capita rate than their Irish or Scottish equivalents. By the mid-eighteenth century, however, the number of Scots in both the administrative and merchant marine branches had significantly outpaced that of the other two metropolitan provincial groups. The quality of the Company’s archives makes it possible to reconstruct the educational and career backgrounds of many of those joining the Company’s upper echelons. Previously unknown regional patterns, including the prominence of individuals from South Wales, Leinster and east-central Scotland demonstrate the way in which regional connections to London were projected outwards into the eastern half of the empire. In this context Edinburgh and Dublin assume a new importance as key ‘sub-metropoles’, providing investment networks and educational infrastructure that shaped patterns of participation in the Company’s civil service and merchant marine.
‘Poor’ Europe’s pathways to empire and globalisation
The conclusion reflects on the wider lessons to be drawn from the example of Irish, Scottish and Welsh involvement in the English East India Company from c.1690 to c.1820. The emphasis is placed on how these societies, despite forming part of the British Empire’s ‘metropolitan core’, can be seen as exemplars of ‘comparatively disadvantaged’, ‘poor’ Europe. They provide evidence of how areas lacking large reserves of monetary capital sought to exploit early modern globalisation and expansion. In this way their example can contribute to wider debates on the nature of European expansion and colonialism and the basis of proto-globalisation.
Connecting economies of human and monetary capital
The commercial activities of traders operating on their own private account under licence from the English East India Company was one of the most dynamic sectors of the emerging colonial economy. While there is some understanding of the prominence of Scots in this ‘country trade’ after 1750, the role of other metropolitan provincials is far less well understood. This chapter surveys and compares trends in Irish, Scottish and Welsh involvement in the private trade sector. As in the civil service, military and medical areas, diversity and divergence marked out the profile of the three national groups. Scots were disproportionately present in the key free merchant and free mariner levels of the country trade. By the early nineteenth century they formed a substantial minority percentage of the overall British and Irish free-trading community. By comparison the Welsh and more especially Irish involvement remained relatively underdeveloped, an outcome that impaired Irish society’s capacity to fully exploit one whole hemisphere of the empire. The chapter considers the tendency for the Welsh and Irish to appear in greater numbers in the administrative and legal services that developed in the main presidency settlements. Also analysed are the international remittance networks that stretched across the whole of Asia and back to Europe. These ephemeral but vitally important connections demonstrate the eclectic, transnational nature of the country trade but also the ongoing importance of kinship, regional and national identities.