From the moment governments began making money from levying duty on
imported goods, a smuggling trade developed to avoid paying such
taxes. Whilst the popular image of historic smuggling remains a
romantic one, this book makes clear that the illicit trade could be
a large-scale and systematic business that relied on the connivance
of well-connected merchants. Taking the port of Bristol as a case
study, the book provides the most sophisticated historical study
ever undertaken of the smugglers' trade, in England or abroad.
Following on from the author's prize-winning article in Economic
History Review, the volume employs the business accounts of
sixteenth-century merchants to reconstruct their illicit
operations. It presents a detailed analysis of the merchants'
illegal businesses, assessing how individual merchants, and
Bristol's commercial class, were able to protect their contraband
trade. More fundamentally, it examines how and why the illicit
trade developed, why the Crown was unable to suppress it, and the
role smuggling played within Bristol's wider economy. Through an
investigation of these matters the study explores a world that has
long attracted popular interest, but which has always been assumed
to be immune to serious historical investigation. The book offers a
pioneering study, demonstrating that a detailed examination of a
particular time and place, based on a close and integrated reading
of both official and private records, can make it possible for
historians to investigate illicit economies to a greater degree
than has previously been believed possible.
|Country of origin:
Evan T. Jones
||Electronic book text
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