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Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Scotland, Ireland, Wales and British imperialism in Asia, c.1690–c.1820

The book is a comparative analysis of Scotland, Ireland and Wales’s participation in the English East India Company between c.1690 and c.1820. It explains the increasing involvement of individuals and networks from these societies in the London-based corporation which controlled contact between the early modern British and Irish Isles and one hemisphere of world trade. Scottish, Irish, and Welsh evidence is used to consider wider questions on the origins, nature and consequences of the early modern phase of globalisation, sometimes referred to as ‘proto-globalisation’. The book contributes to such debates by analysing how these supposedly ‘poorer’ regions of Europe relied on migration as an investment strategy to profit from empire in Asia. Using social network theory and concepts of human capital it examines why the Scots, Irish and Welsh developed markedly different profiles in the Company’s service. Chapters on the administrative elite, army officers and soldiers, the medical corps and private traders demonstrate consistent Scottish over-representation, uneven Irish involvement and consistent Welsh under-representation. Taken together they explore a previously underappreciated cycle of human capital that involved departure to Asia, the creation of colonial profits, and the return back of people and their fortunes to Britain and Ireland. By reconceptualising the origins and the consequences of involvement in the Company, the study will be of interest to historians of early modern Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Britain, the East India Company and the early phases of British imperialism in Asia.

Interactions and influences, 1650–1830
Editor: H. V. Bowen

Written by leading specialists in the field, this book is a collection of essays that explore economic, social, cultural, political, and religious interactions between Wales and the empire. It discusses the many relationships that developed between Wales and the British overseas empire between 1650 and 1830. The book looks at Welsh influences on the emergence of 'British' imperialism, as well as the impact that the empire had upon the development of Wales itself. Using the West Indian and East Indian connection, the book quantifies different interactions that occurred between Wales and the overseas empire. It highlights how expansion in Asia served to draw Wales and the Welsh into the domestic and overseas worlds of the London-based East India Company. The book also explores the aspects of the impact that expansion had upon the development of the Welsh economy. The focus then turns to the Atlantic-facing parts of the Welsh economy. How British expansion in the Atlantic basin opened up opportunities for people from Wales to take a prominent place in international communities of religious thought and belief is shown. Participation in an expanding spiritual empire brought like-minded individuals together in transoceanic networks and this engagement helped to shape the emergence of Welsh evangelical identities. Finally, Welsh interactions with the nascent British empire in India are analysed. Much work remains to be done if Wales is to be fully integrated into the British imperial historiography and the empire is to be afforded a central role in the writing of Welsh history.

The 'Indian Room' label from Osterley's bell-pull system illustrates the economic and cultural aspects of the relationship between country houses and the British Empire. This book is a study of that relationship, of the ways in which country houses like Osterley served as venues for the expression of personal and national imperial engagement between 1700 and 1930. A rare scholarly analysis of the history of country houses that goes beyond an architectural or biographical study, and recognises their importance as the physical embodiments of imperial wealth and reflectors of imperial cultural influences, is presented. The book assesses the economic and cultural links between country houses and the Empire. In terms of imperial values, country houses expressed both the economic and cultural impact of empire. Carr and Gladstone were only two of the many examples of colonial merchants who turned landed magnates. Nabobs - men who made their fortunes either as employees of the East India Company or as 'free traders' in India - were willing to risk their lives in pursuit of wealth. Like nabobs, planters went to the colonies in search of wealth and were prepared to spend substantial time there in order to accumulate it. Military and naval were among categories of people who purchased landed estates with imperial wealth. The book identifies four discourses of empire - commodities, cosmopolitanism, conquest and collecting - that provided the basic categories in which empire was represented in country-house context.

British imperial attitudes towards China, 1792–1840
Author: Hao Gao

This book examines British imperial attitudes towards China during their early encounters from 1792 to 1840. It makes the first attempt to bring together the political history of Sino-Western relations and cultural studies of British representations of China, as a new way of understanding the origins of the Opium War – a deeply consequential event which arguably reshaped relations between China and the West for the next hundred years. The book focuses on the crucial half-century before the war, a medium-term (moyenne durée) period which scholars such as Kitson and Markley have recently compared in importance to that of the American and French Revolutions.

This study investigates a range of Sino-British political moments of connection, from the Macartney embassy (1792–94), through the Amherst embassy (1816–17) to the Napier incident (1834) and the lead-up to the opium crisis (1839–40). It examines a wealth of primary materials, some of which have not received sufficient attention before, focusing on the perceptions formed by those who had first-hand experience of China or possessed political influence in Britain. The book shows that through this period Britain produced increasingly hostile feelings towards China, but at the same time British opinion formers and decision-makers disagreed with each other on fundamental matters such as whether to adopt a pacific or aggressive policy towards the Qing and the disposition of the Chinese emperor. This study, in the end, reveals how the idea of war against the Chinese empire was created on the basis of these developing imperial attitudes.

Economical reform and the regulation of the East India Company, 1765–84
Ben Gilding

colonies is well known, and deep connections have been revealed between the lack of British success in the American Revolutionary War (1775–83) and the growth of the economical reform movement at home. 1 However, the key role played by the East India Company in these political and constitutional debates has received far less attention and forms the subject of this

in The many lives of corruption
India, the East India Company and the Welsh economy, c.1750–1830
H. V. Bowen

In the previous essay Andrew Mackillop explained why only comparatively small numbers of Welsh men and women found their way to Asia during the long eighteenth century. In view of this, it is quite reasonable to assume that any interactions that occurred between Wales and Britain’s growing empire in the east were somewhat limited. Indeed, logic would appear to dictate that the process of British territorial and commercial expansion in Asia which gathered pace after the East India Company’s conquest of Bengal

in Wales and the British overseas empire
Abstract only
London and early links with the English East India companies
Andrew Mackillop

Asia does not loom large in assessments of early modern Ireland, Wales or Scotland, and for good reason. Although a highly attractive commercial destination for small, relatively underdeveloped north-west European societies, Asia’s economies were notoriously difficult to access. Entering the service of one of the European powers offered a possible solution to this problem. The Ostend and French East India companies attracted a range of Irishmen into its financial and military echelons while the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and its Swedish counterpart hosted a

in Human capital and empire
Landscapes of convenience
John McAleer

surprising that it never came into their heads to settle there.’ 4 In fact, it was only the Dutch who settled a small group of their East India Company servants there, over a century and a half after the VOC had first begun trading to the East. The range of views derived from reports of and travels in the region expanded throughout the early-nineteenth-century period of political

in Representing Africa
Edward Sherburne, the East India Company, and the transformation of Stuart political practices
Rupali Mishra

In the margins of a 1632 letter from East India Company factors in Gombroon (now Bandar Abbas, Iran) to the Company leadership in London are a series of neat and tiny annotations. Paragraph by paragraph, the annotations index key ideas and topics. One reads ‘Edward Haines [a Company agent in Persia] dangerously sick’; another ‘the custom amount the last year’; and still another ‘gold not in so good request in Persia as in India’. These summative marginalia sit alongside notes that show that the annotator

in Political and religious practice in the early modern British world