About the Blog

I’m Grant Smith. Thanks for visiting.

Despite arriving in my mid 30’s with a purely scientific and engineering education, I took an MA in the (loquacious titled) Comparative History of Early Modern European Society at Birkbeck in 2008/9. This was a superb experience and added some intellectual discipline to a curious mind. It also, rather unexpectedly, inspired in me a fascination for the medieval and Early Modern Venetian Republic as well as the English topics which had  tempted me onto the course in the first place.

Sadly a further course of formal study is beyond me at the moment, and a PhD a pipedream but, inspired by my friend and Birkbeck MA Colleague Nick Poyntz ‘s excellent Mercurius Politicus blog, I decided a blog would be a good way to provide a forum for some thoughts and a focus for some research without the deadlines and conventions of proper academia.

My Birkbeck studies will be a starting point for the blog. Some of work I did on essays and my dissertation has nuggets which are worth repackaging and sharing on here, whilst there are other topics which I came across but didn’t have time to pursue which I would now like to dig into. I’ll mainly write about Early Modern Britain (argue amongst yourselves what Early Modern means, or what Britain means at the time) and Italy, with the odd excursion into France. It is my blog however, so I may well wonder drunkenly within our without those arbitrary boundaries.

7 thoughts on “About the Blog”

  1. John Sutton said:

    Dear Grant,
    I’m a retired university history lecturer interested in the late 17th century. Next Saturday 16th November I shall be giving a power-point presentation on ‘Ipswich and the first Jacobite rebellion, March 1689’ in the Bury St Edmunds Record Office between 10 and 12 am. I note with interest that in your blog you have uncovered a contemporary account of the mutiny of the Earl of Dumbarton’s regiment which is entirely new to me. This is ‘the Account of the Defeat of the Rebels at Wisbich in the Isle of Ely’. I have tried to track down this single sheet broadside but to no avail. So I was wondering whether you could kindly send me a copy of this account which I would love to read before my lecture. Any help which you can give me over this matter would be greatly appreciated.
    A thousand thanks./
    Best wishes,
    John Sutton.

    • John,

      It is great to find someone with a shared interest! I’ll forward by email the following:

      A full and True ACCOUNT OF THE Barbarous Rebellion AND Rising of the Lord Dumbarton’s Regiment at Ipswich in Suffolk. With their Pretences of Declaring for the late King James” (LONDON, Printed by W.Downing 1689)

      An ACCOUNT OF THE Defeat of the Rebels At WISBICH in the Isle of Ely

      “A Full and True ACCOUNT OF THE Tryal, Conviction, & Condemnation of the SCOTCH REBELS, OFFICERS in the L. Dunbartons Regiment; At Bury St. Edmunds in SUFFOLK, (On Wednesday, July 31st, 1689) For High-Treason.” [Licens’d, according to Order, 1689. LONDON, Printed for J. Pardo in St. James’s street, 1689].

      I hope you have read all the articles on the Dumbarton Regiment (there are several) which will point you to some more primary sources. Unfortunately Rod Collins site which is linked to had references to sources I couldn’t find now seems to be down.

      If I can be of any further help, please get in touch.

      Best regards,


    • John do you have anything online I can look at re Ipswich and Jacobites?

      • Thanks for your interest,. I assume you have read all the articles on the Daumbartons’ mutiny, which occurred in Ipswich. It is arguable whether they were committed Jacobites or just self interested- I’ve got more research planned on that. There are some links in the text. Macaulay’s account is available online in Vol 2 of his History of Britain https://archive.org/details/macaulayshistory02maca (Chapter XI I think). If there is anything specific, let me know.

  2. I enjoyed your blog, The Eagle Clawed Wolfe. Why no recent posts?

    I am working on a book-blog of my own, which can be seen at [one word] theoryofirony.com, then clicking on either the “sample chapter” or “blog” buttons at the top. My Rube Goldberg brain asks with an odd, well-caffeinated kind of logic: Why is there an inverse proportion between the size of the print and the importance of the message? Literature. Art. Science. Military. Religion. I call this eccentric thinking the Theory of Irony and if your busy schedule permits, give a read, leave a comment or create a link. In any event, best of luck with your own endeavors.

  3. Hi.
    Waiting for more articles ….
    How about some thoughts on modern day imperialism in comparison with empires of long

    • Thanks for the comment. Sorry it took too long to approve. My main interests these days are 17th Century England, in which British Imperialism was rather embryonic, and certainly not a central theme, although, of course for Macaulay, another of my interests, it is central to his legacy. I will bear it in mind for future posts, howevr.

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