“Mobilizing Illicit Trade When Immobilized by War: A Connecticut Sea Captain in Dutch Statia, 1756-58”

OI Colloquium with Kenneth Banks

Drawn from a biography (Ch. 5) of an angry, social ambitious Connecticut sea captain, Thomas Allen, and his family during the era of the American Revolutionary Atlantic, this chapter examines how a ‘middling’ free Settler like Allen escaped a massive debt load through illicit trade during the Seven Years’ War.  The book is an attempt to situate the lives of the ‘middling sort’ in ‘Vast Early Maritime America.’

Kenneth Banks is a graduate of Queen’s University, Canada. He attended the second Harvard Atlantic Seminar (1997) under the late Bernard Bailyn. His first book Chasing Empire (2002) examined the limits of communications in what was then the new field of the French Atlantic. He has just begun scouting publishers for his second manuscript, a biography of angry, socially ambitious, British-American mariner and the world of his seaborne mobility in the ‘long’ American Revolution. He teaches Atlantic and American Legal History at Wofford College, a small liberal arts college in South Carolina.


The OI’s Colloquium Series is an ongoing seminar for scholars to present their work in progress for graduate students and colleagues.  Advanced registration is required. All participants read the pre-circulated  paper and prepare to engage in generous and generative feedback.

When we meet in person we are limited by the size of the OI’s conference room; online we limit registration to 40 (a typical size for the colloquium). No recordings are made of the discussions and no tweeting or posting on other social media platforms during the event is permitted in order to encourage this intellectual community of trusted exchange.


Contact Beverly Smith for your copy.