Between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries, the effective political and commercial hegemony of English state and society were extended from the rather narrow confines of England to a far-reaching zone embracing all the British Isles and significant parts of North America, the West Indies, Africa and Asia. With this geographic expansion went an expansion of career and investment opportunities for persons from different strata of English (or later British) society. For students of colonial America, the new opportunity that comes most readily to mind was emigration. There were, however, less permanent overseas opportunities for wellconnected army officers and civil administrators, for merchants and their employees, for ship captains and their crews. By the end of the seventeenth century, we can see developing among sections of the lesser gentry and trading classes a peripatetic, migratory or, in current terminology, expatriate subculture: that is, a network of families whose younger male members were normally prepared to consider careers that would take them for many years out of the home country but that also seemed to promise opportunity for a dignified, comfortable return later in life. The Union with Scotland in 1707 was to bring a noticeably large element of Scots into this migratory sub,culture. Of course, not everyone who went out to Ireland, North America, the East or West Indies returned. Some found an early grave on a distant shore; others married and settled overseas; still others were discouraged by poverty from contemplating a return. However, enough did return to create in Britain the subculture of families with overseas histories, connections and perspectives.
For members of merchant families, particularly in the seventeenth