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Customs and Excise: Trade, Production, and Consumption in England 1640-1845

William J. Ashworth


This book traces the growth of customs and excise, and their integral role in shaping the framework of industrial England; including state power, technical advance, and the evolution of a consumer society. Central to this structure was the development of two economies — one legal and one illicit. If there was a unique English pathway of industrialization, it was less a distinct entrepreneurial and techno-centric culture, than one predominantly defined within an institutional framework spearheaded by the excise and a wall of tariffs. This process reached its peak by the end of the 1770s. The st ... More

Keywords: industrial England, state power, technical advance, consumer society, fiscal-military state, industrial policy, William Pitt, illicit economy, new political economy, smugglers' free trade

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2003 Print ISBN-13: 9780199259212
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199259212.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

William J. Ashworth, author
Lecturer in History, University of Liverpool
Author Webpage

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Part I Consuming the People

Part II The ‘Devil’s Remedy’

Part III An Impolite and Commercial People: The Common Economy

Part IV ‘Going on the Gauge’: Excise, Fraud, and Production

Part V ‘Ye Judgement of the Gaugers’: Shaping and Regulating the Market

Part VI Dismantling the Fiscal-Military State

End Matter