Commerce, finance and statecraft

Histories of England, 1600-1780

By Ben Dew

Commerce, finance and statecraft

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9296-5
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: May 2018
  • BIC Category: History, Humanities / British & Irish history, Economics, finance, business & management / Economic history, United Kingdom, Great Britain, History of ideas, Economic history, HISTORY / Historiography, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economic History, Humanities / Historiography, Society & social sciences / History of ideas, Modern History


Commerce, finance and statecraft charts the emergence of new approaches to England's economic history in the historical writing of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The book explores the work of the period's most influential historians ­- among them Francis Bacon, William Camden, Paul de Rapin-Thoyras and David Hume - and shows how these writers, and their contemporaries, were engaged in a series of hotly contested, politically-charged debates concerning the management of England's commercial and financial interests.

This book will be essential reading for historians and literary critics working on Restoration and eighteenth-century historical writing, and historians, economists, political scientists, and philosophers interested in historiographical theory.


'In this fine study, Ben Dew perceptively examines seventeenth- and eighteenth-century-historians of England's narratives and normative assessments of commerce and finance, as well as monarchical policies designed to shape the new economic conditions. [...] Commerce, Finance and Statecraft deserves a wide readership. Among its many strengths, Dew's book provides scholars working within the field of History of Capitalism with a timely meditation on the politics of the historians' choices in how they explain and assess the past to shape the future.'
Carl Wennerlind (Barnard College, Columbia University), in The Scriblerian and the Kit-Cats (Autumn 2020).


Part I
1 Tacitean history: Francis Bacon's History of the Reign of King Henry VII
2 Exemplary history: William Camden's Annales
3 Chronology and commerce: Edmund Howes' Annales
Part II
4 The English Civil War and the politics of economic statecraft
5 Whig history: Paul de Thoyras de Rapin's Histoire
6 Tory history: Thomas Salmon's Modern History
7 Jacobite history: Thomas Carte's General History
Part III
8 Economic statecraft and economic progress: William Guthrie's General History
9 The end of economic statecraft: David Hume's History of England


Ben Dew is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies at the University of Portsmouth

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