This project compares the gendered crime patterns in the records of different types of courts in England and the Netherlands during the early modern period.
The extensiveness of the sources will make it necessary to work with samples.
- Proceedings of trials at London’s Old Bailey (1674-1913) that are published online (www.oldbaileyonline.org). As the central criminal court for the City of London and the County of Middlesex, the Old Bailey was where all trials took place for serious crimes occurring in the London area north of the Thames. This includes all trials for felony and some of the most serious misdemeanours. The proceedings include the summary of the formal criminal charge made against the defendant, as recorded in the manuscript indictment. The original indictments of the Old Bailey, held at the London Metropolitan Archives, providing details concerning offences and charges which were not reported in the Proceedings.
- As the trials of the Old Bailey Proceedings include serious offences only, the post-doc will examine other criminal courts of the London area that also handled less severe crimes, such as Middlesex quarter session papers, criminal records of the City of London, and the Westminister sessions. The online sources for ‘London Lives 1690-1800’ (www.londonlives.org) provides a helpful list of all documents available year by year. The original records are held at the London Metropolitan Archives.
- Secondary literature on public roles, moral and legal norms, family structure, labour participation, living standards, and urbanisation in England.
- Court records of the Amsterdam court between 1600 and 1838: confession books, sentence books, examination books (all 1600-1811); the records of the Amsterdam court of correction (1811-1838) that handled cases of people who were accused by third parties. The sources contain detailed information about the trials, the accused, persons arrested and convicted, punishments, confessions of defendants, statements of people involved the examinations of defendants by the prosecutor and associated information.
- Court records of the criminal court of Zwolle between 1600 and 1811: confession books, sentence books (or criminalia), fine books and archives on the trials. These records contain extensive and detailed information about the trials, the crimes committed, the punishments received, the confessions of defendants, statements of witnesses, and the arguments of the prosecutors for sentencing.
- Secondary literature on moral and legal norms, family structure, labour participation, living standards, and urbanisation in the Netherlands.
Characteristics of the London area
- Absolute nuclear family system: more freedom regarding the choice of marriage partner, family ties are less strong, descent and property transmission is generally through men and women alike. These factors provide a relatively good position for women (though in some cases inheritance may not be equal) resulting in larger public roles of women, more independent migration, and a higher level of labour participation (Kok: 2010, 220).
- The London area is a highly urbanised area that witnessed rapid economic growth between 1600 and 1800. The city of London reached around 600,000 inhabitants in 1700, around 750,000 in 1750, and nearly a million inhabitants by the start of the 19th century. London’s rapid population growth depended on high rates of immigration (Clark: 2009, 121-123).
- After 1800 there was a growth in the service sector that was linked to industrialization and the expansion of state and municipal power. Urban industrial production took off, resulting in the emergence of factories, increasing wage labour and higher levels of consumption.
Characteristics of Amsterdam and Zwolle
- In Holland (where Amsterdam is located) the absolute nuclear family system was prevalent: more freedom regarding the choice of the marriage partner, family ties were less strong, descent and property transmission was generally through men and women alike. These factors provided a relatively good position for women resulting in larger public roles of women, more migration, and a higher level of labour participation. The position of Dutch women may have resembled that of English women, but Dutch women probably led more public lives and experienced more freedom in their economic and social choices.
- Amsterdam was the largest city of the Netherlands, located in Holland which had a level of urbanisation of 70% around 1795. From the second half of the 16th century Amsterdam grew rapidly, and like London this growth depended on immigration. The city had around 105,000 inhabitants in 1622, by 1795 around 217,000, by 1850 around 250,000 and by 1900 510,000. Due to the trade with the East Sea area and with England and France, the city remained prosperous until the end of the 18th century. Women as well as men benefited from this economic growth; they were active in trade and various craft guilds. After the fourth war with England in the 1780s the economic position of Amsterdam declined, and even more so in the 19th century.
- Zwolle was a small town in the east of the Netherlands; its characteristics resembled the towns in the German areas: more restrictive family structure, strong family ties, and less public lifestyles of women. The governmental structure which allowed political involvement of citizens also resembled the German areas (Lourens & Lucassen: 2000). Zwolle had in 1600 around 6,500 inhabitants, in 1682 7,800 and around 1800 12,220. It was one of the smaller ports of the Netherlands, but it had a central place in the eastern trading network. Due to economic decline between 1600 and 1800, the level of urbanisation declined in the east of the Netherlands, probably from around 30% to less than 20 % around 1800. During this period there was slight population growth in Zwolle (Van der Heijden: 2006, 37).
Monograph in English on a comparative analysis of crime and gender in various courts in early modern England and the Netherlands.