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Title: Commerce and constitutionalism : the English East India Company and political culture in Scotland and Ireland, 1681-1813
Author: Crerar, Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 8628
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2013
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The examination of Scottish and Irish links with the Atlantic realm of the British Empire has made an important contribution to national histories and imperial historiography. This thesis concentrates on an underdeveloped field of eighteenth- century historical studies of Scotland and of Ireland. Eighteenth-century perceptions of the English East India Company (EIC) in Scotland and Ireland have been analysed throughout this study, an approach offering a number of advantages. By shifting the geographic focus, established conceptualisations of Scottish and Irish provincialism, formulated within the field of Atlantic history, have been reviewed using evidence relating to the Asian Empire. This dissertation also contributes to Scottish and Irish comparative historiography. It exposes distinct similarities and subtle differences in the reactions of Scottish and Anglo-Irish societies to the EIC. Factions within both societies sought access to global trade, particularly once the parliaments of their respective countries had been constitutionally liberated. The monopoly posed fundamental questions in the politics of union and empire in both Scotland and Ireland. It prominently featured in Irish debates over union at the end of the eighteenth century, just as it had in Scotland in 1707. Nonetheless, Scottish and Anglo-Irish societies remained sensitive to the extra- commercial character of the EIC. Proposals for participation in the East Indies trade offer insights into the complexities of their respective political cultures. Responses to the EIC have been used throughout this thesis to test influential theories in imperial historiography, regarding the political culture which promoted overseas expansion. Accepted ideas regarding the role of the British Empire in the construction of North British and Anglo-Irish identity have been challenged. The hypothesis that provinciality was a product of the Atlantic Empire is also contested. This dissertation questions certain aspects of the ‘gentlemanly capitalism’ thesis. The notion that East India patronage inhibited Scottish debate should also be reassessed. Furthermore the thesis contends that the importance of the Eastern Empire to contemporaries has been underestimated in both Scottish and Irish historiography.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Aberdeen ; School of Divinity ; History & Philosophy ; Donald Withrington Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: East India Company ; Scotland ; Ireland