Richards, Eric 1940-
Richards, Eric 1940-
Born August 3, 1940, in Wales; son of William (a manager) and Jessie (a homemaker) Richards; married Margaret Pollard (divorced, 1981); married Ngaire Naffine (a professor of law) May 11, 1985; children: Cindy Jane, Louise Jessica, Sally Joan. Educa-tion: University of Nottingham, B.A. (with honors), 1963, Ph.D., 1967. Politics: "Fabian." Religion: "Agnostic." Hobbies and other interests: Tennis, music, travel.
University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia, lecturer in economics, 1964-67; University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland, lecturer in history, 1967-72; Flinders University, Bedford Park, Australia, began as lecturer, became reader, 1971-74, professor of history, 1975—, and longtime department head. University of Glasgow, senior visiting research fellow, 1975; University of Warwick, visiting research fellow, 1981; Australian National University, visiting fellow at Research School of Social Sciences, 1989-90, 2001, 2002-05; University of London, visiting professor at Birkbeck College, 1994, and at Menzies Australian Studies Centre, King's College, 2003; European University Institute, Florence, Italy, visiting fellow in history and civilization, 1994; University of Otago, Bamforth Lecturer, 1998; Australian National University, F.B. Smith Lecturer, 1999; University of Cardiff, visiting professor, 2001; Case Western Reserve University, adjunct professor, 2004; guest speaker at other institutions, including Stanford University, University of Hull, and University of Keele. Public speaker on the history of the British in Australia and other historical topics; guest on radio programs.
Royal Historical Society (fellow), Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Book Award, Scottish Arts Council, 1982, for A History of the Highland Clearances; fellow, Australian Academy of the Social Sciences, 1984, and Australian Academy of Humanities, 1986; award from Saltire Society, Scottish history book of the year, 1999, for Patrick Sellar and the Highland Clearances: Eviction, Homicide, and the Price of Progress; Australian Centenary Medal for services to the arts and Australian society, 2003.
The Leviathan of Wealth: The Sutherland Fortune in the Industrial Revolution, Routledge & Kegan Paul (London, England), 1973.
The Last Scottish Food Riots (monograph), Past and Present Society (Oxford, England), 1982.
A History of the Highland Clearances, Croom Helm (London, England), Volume 1: Agrarian Transformation and the Evictions, 1746-1886, 1982, Volume 2: Emigration, Protest, Reasons, 1985.
(Coeditor) Historical Statistics of South Australia, [Adelaide, Australia], 1984.
(Editor and contributor) The Flinders History of South Australia, Wakefield Press (Netley, Australia), 1986.
The Land of Exiles: Scots in Australia, Her Majesty's Stationery Office (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1988.
(With Monica Clough) Cromartie: Highland Life, 1650-1914, Aberdeen University Press (Aberdeen, Scotland), 1989.
(Editor, with Richard Reid and David Fitzpatrick, and contributor) Visible Immigrants, Department of History and Centre for Immigration and Multicultural Studies, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University (Canberra, Australia), Volume 1: Neglected Sources for the History of Australian Immigration, 1989, Volume 2: Poor Australian Immigrants in the Nineteenth Century, 1990.
(Editor and contributor) Visible Women: Female Emigrants in Colonial Australia, Department of History and Centre for Immigration and Multicultural Studies, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University (Canberra, Australia), 1995.
(Editor, with Jacqueline Templeton, and contributor) The Australian Immigrant in the Twentieth Century, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University (Canberra, Australia), 1998.
Patrick Sellar and the Highland Clearances: Eviction, Homicide, and the Price of Progress, Polygon at Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1999.
The Highland Clearances: People, Landlords, and Rural Turmoil, Birlinn (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2000, 3rd edition, 2007.
(Editor, with A. James Hammerton, and contributor) Speaking to Immigrants: Oral Testimony and the History of Australian Immigration, Department of History and Centre for Immigration and Multicultural Studies, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University (Canberra, Australia), 2002.
Britannia's Children: Emigration from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland since 1600, Hambledon & London (New York, NY), 2004.
Debating the Highland Clearances, Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2007.
Contributor to many books, including Edward Gibbon Wakefield and the Colonial Dream: A Reconsideration, GP Publications (Wellington, New Zealand), 1997; Irish Women in Colonial Australia, edited by Trevor McClaughlin, Allen & Unwin (Sydney, Australia), 1998; Myth, Migration, and the Making of Memory: Scotia and Nova Scotia, c. 1700-1990, John Donald (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1999; The Australian People, edited by J. Jupp, 2nd edition, 2000; and The Wakefield Companion to the History of South Australia, edited by W. Prest, 2001. Contributor of articles and reviews to British, American, Dutch, and Australian academic journals, including Scottish Historical Review, Australian Journal of Irish Studies, Journal of British History, Scottish Economic and Social History, International Review of Social History, Journal of the Australian Population Association, Northern Studies, Population Studies, Labour History, and Stonemason.
Eric Richards is a scholar of British history who has written extensively on events of past centuries that helped shape the modern United Kingdom. Born in Wales, Richards has taught history in Australia since the early 1970s. During the 1980s his scholarly interests shifted toward analyzing the role of British immigrants in settling Australia and the integral role that newcomers have played in forging the destiny of the continent.
Richards's first book, The Leviathan of Wealth: The Sutherland Fortune in the Industrial Revolution, is an examination of one of the largest landholders in Scotland in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Sutherland family. Through marriage and inheritances the Sutherlands controlled almost a million acres of Scottish Highland territory as well as a lucrative shipping canal. Richards's treatise analyzes how these vast holdings were transformed to weather a period of great economic upheaval in Scotland. The bulk of the estate was managed by James Loch, a shrewd administrator who foresaw the economic restructuring that would be caused by the Industrial Revolution and guided the Sutherland trust accordingly. For instance, the Bridgewater Canal in Lancashire was destined to pass from the hands of the direct Sutherland heir, but prior to that its viability was already threatened by the railroad industry. Loch shrewdly invested trust assets into the canal's main competition, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Another of Loch's astute transitional moves described by Richards involved the "clearances"—evicting the tenants from the Highlands and subsidizing moves elsewhere, either to the newly created industrial villages in the north of Scotland or abroad. These clearances were enacted due to the realization that the land afforded its tenants a meager existence that was increasingly threatened by population explosion and resulting famine. It was obvious to Loch and the Sutherland family that it was simply more profitable to let sheep graze the land instead. This policy was met with resistance and deep hatred. Richards consulted the historical data extant in the Sutherland papers to show that a great deal of their assets were tied up for years in improving the economic lot of their tenants, first to ameliorate the disastrous potato famine of the 1840s and later to resettle the tenants elsewhere, such as Canada and Australia.
The first volume of Richards's A History of the Highland Clearances, subtitled Agrarian Transformation and the Evictions, 1746-1886, presents a broader view of the type of policies that Loch and the Sutherland family enacted during the course of the century. Although they were the largest landholders in Scotland, many others also were engaged in the eviction of families from the Highlands to make room for sheep. Richards points out that this was a widespread movement adopted by the landlords of the era and provides the reasons for it. The work begins with an examination of economic, social, and political changes sweeping through the British Isles and Europe in the mid-eighteenth century, and discusses the various aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship over the generations. Richards also analyzes the changes in economic fortunes that led to the clearances.
The second volume of A History of the Highland Clearances, subtitled Emigration, Protest, Reasons, examines the economic and social consequences of the evictions and mass immigrations, and the subsequent treatment by historians of the issue in the decades since. The historiographical portion opens the volume, and in it Richards discusses the writings of eighteenth-century economist Adam Smith and the use of Smith's theories to justify the clearance policies. In the section on emigration, Richards demonstrates that the landlords who so favored depopulation as a remedy for overcrowding in the Highlands after only a few years encouraged population increase as a way to supply men for certain industries and a strong military force for the Crown. Emigration, Protest, Reasons also examines one of the most notorious enforcers of the clearances, Patrick Sellar, who worked for the Sutherland estate discussed in The Leviathan of Wealth. Sellar and his actions were met with extreme resistance, but he was ultimately successful in his career and grew wealthy from it.
Richards once told CA: "I have spent much of my time trying to understand the consequences of industrialisation for women and for regions on the periphery of that great transformation such as the Scottish Highlands and Australia. My more recent work on British emigration is a logical extension of this interest. My emigration research tries to connect together these two larger themes."
In Britannia's Children: Emigration from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland since 1600, Richards looks primarily at migration to North America in an attempt to summarize data regarding who left England and why over a period of some 400 years. It might surprise some readers to learn that the earliest migrants were not typically the poor seeking escape from persecution or privation, but people of comfortable means seeking new opportunities. He points out that it was the British, representing a small proportion of the overall European population, who constituted the greatest percentage of immigrants to North America. Yet it was such a quiet and steady migration that it was never acknowledged as a national or ethnic phenomenon. Richards attempts to identify the many classifications of British emigrants who made their way across the Atlantic, and he discusses the myriad factors that prompted people to leave their homeland: religious discrimination, industrialization, famine, unemployment, and involuntary conscription, for example. In the end, the British diaspora, so longstanding and subtle (with notable exceptions such as the link between the potato famine of the mid-1800s and Irish dispersion abroad) that it has been virtually invisible, seems to defy a definitive explanation.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal, summer, 2005, C.P. Champion, review of Britannia's Children: Migration from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland since 1600, p. 124.
Library Journal, April 14, 2004, Robert Moore, review of Britannia's Children.
Times Literary Supplement, May 4, 1973, G.E. Mingay, review of The Leviathan of Wealth: The Sutherland Fortune in the Industrial Revolution, p. 490; April 2, 1982, Bruce Lenman, review of A History of the Highland Clearances, p. 390; December 27, 1985, Bruce Lenman, review of A History of the Highland Clearances, p. 1489.
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