Corruption was endemic in early modern society. What were its effects?
My research explores the history of clandestine markets in early modern England and its empire.
Smugglers. Corrupt officials. Dark markets in public goods and contraband. My research explores the history of clandestine markets in early modern England and its empire.
My forthcoming book project The Invisible Handshake: Discovering Corruption in the Early Modern State (Oxford University Press) follows the career of an early seventeenth century corruption hunter, Sir Stephen Proctor (1562 - 1619) and the conspiracy that eventually destroyed him.
A story of corruption and conspiracy, ambition and violence, the book reveals the limits of reform in the early modern state, and the growing influence of anxieties about corruption. This timely study examines the corrosive effect of charges of corruption on political compromise.
My research on early modern smuggling reconstructs contraband networks around the British Isle and the Atlantic. I explore the political economy of smuggling: why state's tolerated contraband, why there was often a business case for merchants to engage in trafficking, and why some jurisdictions specialized as waypoints for those avoiding taxes. Many of these same places remain tax havens - continuing their economic specialization!