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‘The embers of expiring sedition’: Maurice Margarot, the Scottish martyrs monument and the production of radical memory across the British South Pacific

Authors


  • The author would like to thank Jim Epstein, Mark Hampton and Tony Taylor for their generous and helpful comments on earlier drafts. He also wishes to thank his wife, Tamara King, for her valuable comments. Peter Neely also deserves many thanks for his assistance with library materials. Finally, the editors and anonymous referees for Historical Research provided a number of helpful suggestions for which the author is very grateful.

Abstract

Focusing on efforts by British political radicals in the later eighteen-thirties to commemorate Maurice Margarot as one of the ‘Scottish martyrs’ transported for sedition in 1794, this article argues that Chartist-era memorial practices represented a reaction to contemporary conservative built-form monuments which sought to use urban space to inculcate loyalism among metropolitan residents. Second, the article shows that divisions within radicalism during the eighteen-thirties meant that efforts to commemorate the martyrs constructed the radical past in a significantly restrictive way, emphasizing constitutionalist strands of the movement and marginalizing its more utopian, revolutionary or ‘Jacobin’ strains. Finally, by examining memories of political transportation with an eye to the domestic context, the article also seeks to make a contribution to ongoing debates about the place of empire within popular radicalism.

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