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Something for Theresa May to think about

John Barrell: The Bow Street Runners, 7 June 2012

The First English Detectives: The Bow Street Runners and the Policing of London, 1750-1840 
by J.M. Beattie.
Oxford, 272 pp., £65, February 2012, 978 0 19 969516 4
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... and prostitutes, they could do that simply by chivvying them into the next parish. As J.M. Beattie points out in this superb book, neither night-watchmen nor constables were expected to investigate crimes. The runners were different: they were, he claims, ‘the first English detectives’. The Fieldings wanted sharp-eyed, intelligent men who could ...

English Violence

Alan Macfarlane, 24 July 1986

Crime and the Courts in England 1660-1800 
by J.M. Beattie.
Oxford, 663 pp., £48, April 1986, 0 19 820057 9
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... ways a fine study. In over six hundred pages of lucid and carefully presented material Professor Beattie has provided an exemplary analysis of the Surrey Assize and Quarter Sessions records between 1660 and 1800, as well as parallel records from the Sussex courts. It is done with subtlety and care. Concentrating on ...

F for Felon

Roy Porter, 4 April 2002

Policing and Punishment in London 1660-1750: Urban Crime and the Limits of Terror 
by J.M. Beattie.
Oxford, 491 pp., £48, July 2001, 0 19 820867 7
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... fiats and a ruling-class weapon, but as integral to the contested politics of community life. John Beattie is among the finest exponents of this more historically sensitive approach to crime and punishment. His somewhat misleadingly titled Crime and the Courts in England 1660-1800 (1986) – a pioneering study of trends in crime and prosecution in Surrey ...

Make me work if you can

T.H. Breen, 18 February 1988

Bound for America: The Transportation of British Convicts to the Colonies, 1718-1775 
by Roger Ekirch.
Oxford, 277 pp., £25, November 1987, 0 19 820092 7
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... answer. His analysis draws, of course, on the seminal work of E.P. Thompson, Douglas Hay, J.M. Beattie, and others who have shown how judges used their discretion to banish persons who might well have been hanged. ‘The Liberties of a free people,’ wrote William Paley, ‘permit not those precautions and restraints, that inspection, scrutiny, and ...

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