Readership: Scholars and students of economic and business history
William J. Ashworth, Lecturer in History, University of Liverpool
"Ashworth has provided a useful and comprehensive synthesis of current historiography and makes important and innovative contributions. This book complicates the relationship between economy and state and establishes that a history of either cannot be complete without a history of the mode of taxation." - EH.NET Book Review
"William J. Ashworth has synthesized a wide range of secondary material to produce an important study of the interconnections between state formation, economic change, and government policythis is a book full of interest, locating new research findings in the context of a shrewd and frequently incisive command of a very diverse historiography....It deserves a wide readership."
"This book is
impressive both in its chronological span and its attention to detail. Ashworth has undoubtedly made an important contribution to our understanding of the development of Britain's state institutions and economy." - David Stasavage, American Historical Review, 110
"Without a doubt, there is a great deal to admire in this book and the main ideas that Ashworth articulates provoke serious thoughtIt is scarcely an exaggeration to state that every researcher of inland and external trade will profit from reading the volume and learn something new about the organisation of commerce and the levying of taxation." - S. D. Smith, Institute of Historical Research Electronic
"The book is interesting and in its density and proximity to the
participants of the financial state England/Great Britain important and worth reading." - Raingard Esser, Review Journal for the Sciences of Histor
"Ashworth's Customs and Excise is a valuable addition to the historiography on Britain in the early modern period. It offers a guide to the practices of the customs and excise, illuminating a central but often overlooked aspect of commercial and manufacturing life during this period. On a broader canvas, however, the history of customs and excise suggests ways of understanding the causal linkages between Britain's development as a fiscal-military state and its parallel emergence as an industrial power." - John Smail, Enterprise and History, 6
"Ashworth's accounts of the role of the excise in
standardizing products, mathematizing measurements, and regulating manufacturing processes are fascinating contributions to the discussion of how science and scientific thinking penetrated government and society." - James Jaffe, Technology and Culture, 46
"Ashworth has written a model book well worth studying by anyone interested in any aspect of the long eighteenth century." - David Hancock, Journal of Modern History, 79
Part I: Consuming the People
1: The Emergence of Public Credit: War, Revenue, and High Politics
2: The "Consumptibility" of Goods: Customs, Excise, and Trade
3: The Equitable Tax?
4: Liberty, Property, and the Excise
Part II: The "Devil's Remedy"
5: Delusion? Public Credit, Trust, and the Excise
6: The Introduction of the Excise
7: "His leering eyes gives such a look": The World of Excise
Part III: An Impolite and Commercial People - the Common Economy
8: Life on the Waterfront
9: Pilfering, Custom Fees, and Renumeration
11: Free Trade, Transport, and Concealment
Part IV: Excise, Fraud, and Production
12: Drink and Food
13: Candles, Soap, Salt, Starch, Leather, Paper, Textiles, and Glass
Part V: Shaping and Regulating the Market
14: Measurement, Instrumentation, and Alcohol Standards
15: Revenue, Metrology, and Casks
16: The Incarceration, Adulteration, and Policing of Taxed Goods
Part VI: Dismantling the Fiscal-Military State
17: The Limits of Taxation and the Politics of Representation
18: Revenue, "Old Corruption", and Manufacturing Interests
19: "Simplicity, Uniformity, and Perspicuity"
20: "The Calcio Millennium"