Regency Spies: Secret Histories of Britain's Rebels and Revolutionaries
Why this book?
How did governments spy on their own citizens in the age of quill pens and candlelight? Although Londoners lustily sang “Britons never, never, never shall be slaves,” the reality was that few men could vote, and some were in danger of being dragged off the street and impressed into the Navy. The struggle for democratic reform, however, was met with suspicion by government leaders who feared a revolution like the one in France that toppled the monarchy. Regency Spies uncovers the hidden world of espionage and agents provocateurs who kept an eye on populist reformers like Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt and deluded fanatics like Arthur Thistlewood. While learning about the Peterloo Massacre and the Cato Street Conspiracy, I was also intrigued by the parallels to our own times.