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.
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
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.