Regency Spies, Secret Histories of Britain’s Rebels & Revolutionaries

The author is building an impressive portfolio of social history books and this is a very interesting addition to her list. The period from the 1790s to the early 1800s was a particularly dangerous period for British society. The French were a natural threat, but there were also many other revolutionary concepts developing. – Highly Recommended.


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NAME: Regency Spies, Secret Histories of Britain's Rebels & 
Revolutionaries
FILE: R2510
AUTHOR: Sue Wilks
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES:  203
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: spies, revolutionaries, counter intelligence, intelligence 

ISBN: 1-783440-0617

IMAGE: B2510jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/llntf6c
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: The author is building an impressive portfolio of 
social history books and this is a very interesting addition to her 
list. The period from the 1790s to the early 1800s was a 
particularly dangerous period for British society. The French 
were a natural threat, but there were also many other revolutionary 
concepts developing.  -  Highly Recommended.

British democracy has been a hard won asset that is all too easy to 
lose. Elizabeth I may have brought a golden age with the first 
movements towards a form of Protestant democracy and the start of 
the age of exploration and colonies, but it was also a very 
dangerous time with threats from Catholics and from Spain. That 
required a formidable network of spies and counter spies. Elizabeth 
may not have wished to open windows into men's souls, but she did 
need to identify those citizens who intended her, her Church, and 
her Government harm. One of her legacies was an effective 
intelligence and counter intelligence service.

In the years that followed her death, Britain was formed and each 
new Monarch needed to maintain a system of spies and counter spies. 
Old threats lingered on, bursting into new life from time to time, 
and new threats emerged, some of them self inflicted.

By the 1790s, a cocktail of threats required close watching and all 
of the skills of espionage and secret policing. Wolfe Tone had an 
ambitious plan to free Ireland from British rule, even if many 
Irishmen were happy with the status quo. There were a number of 
Britons who shared the concepts of the French Revolutionaries, and 
colonial traders who wanted to avoid paying taxes to London. In 
combination they were preaching sedition and presenting the very 
real possibility of forming an alliance with the French 
Revolutionaries.

There was the Pentrich uprising of 1817, several serious 
demonstrations bordering on riots, and a plot in 1820 to murder 
cabinet ministers and seize control of the capital.

Potentially, one of the greatest threats was a revolt against the 
Industrial Revolution. What it lacked was an effective coordinating 
force and it was critical to prevent the Luddites becoming that force. 
This was something of a self-inflicted threat. Governments had allowed 
the early industrialists almost total freedom to develop and this led 
to excesses. A rural workforce was drawn into the towns, cities and 
industrial centres. They were badly housed, inadequately paid and fed, 
and vulnerable to epidemics sweeping through their overcrowded 
communities. They were also badly treated at work with children and 
adults working extraordinary hours with some very dangerous machinery. 
The people drawing wealth from the labours of the poor were often from 
the same stock and they frequently considered their workers as low-
bred morons who were there to be exploited, Wealthy landowners were 
not necessarily any better but many of them did hold a sense of honour 
to maintain their workforce.

The industrial dangers required some force to balance the environment 
of workers and owners, but the danger was that any organization, like 
the Luddites, would be a violent and destabilizing force that could 
do little positive for the workers and a great deal of harm to the 
country and all elements of society. The early attempts to form unions 
and co-operatives frequently started with very good intentions before 
becoming a combative force that could do great harm.

The author has provided a very readable and entertaining account of 
the plots and intrigues and of those thrilling and dangerous times. 
She has provided an enthralling, captivating view into a period of 
turmoil and incredible change as Britain moved very rapidly from a 
rural economy to the first industrialised urban society and from a 
small country that militarily punched above its weight to the 
greatest Empire in history.