‘A Thorn in Their Side’: Trends in British Punishment during the Long Eighteenth Century and the Crime of Jacobitism, 1688–c.1815

Calum Cunningham, University of Stirling

This paper appears to be the first academic attempt to discuss the crime of Jacobitism as a focal point amongst the various trends in British punishment during the long eighteenth century. Throughout, relevant chosen examples highlight the numerous links and prominence of Jacobitism in both the socio-political and legal spheres of this epoch, and how its persistent existence encompassed a pivotal junction of a growing division between public opinion and state policy regarding suitable methods of criminal punishment. The paper also surveys some pertinent connections and divisions within the Scottish and English judicial systems from 1688 to c.1815. It shows how they coincided with the repeated challenges that were instigated by the Jacobite movement as Enlightenment ideas permeated across Europe, influencing eighteenth-century policymakers and jurists. Consequently, the paper argues that the enduring survival of Jacobitism conceivably prolonged the practice of some punishments instead of its gradual suppression falling more generally amid those employed across this extended century.

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