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British policies, practices and representations of naval coercion

The suppression of the Atlantic slave trade has puzzled nineteenth-century contemporaries and historians. The British Empire turned naval power and moral outrage against a branch of commerce it had done so much to promote. This book deals with the British Royal Navy's suppression of the Atlantic slave trade. It traces the political debates which framed policies for the British state's waning but unbroken commitment to slave-trade suppression. If protectionists failed to stop free trade and anti-coercionists failed to withdraw the cruisers, then they did both succeed in reshaping domestic debates to support labour coercion. The book examines details of the work of the navy's West Africa Squadron which have been passed over in earlier narrative accounts. The liberty afforded to the individuals who entered as apprentices into Sierra Leone cannot be clearly distinguished from the bonded labour awaiting them had their enslavers completed the voyage to the Americas. The experiences of sailors and Africans ashore and on ship often stand in contrast to contemporaneous representations of naval suppression. Comparison of the health of African and European sailors serving on the West Africa Station provides insight into the degree to which naval medicine was racialised. The book discusses the anti-slave trade squadron's wider, cultural significance, and its role in the shaping of geographical knowledge of West Africa. It charts the ways in which slave-trade suppression in the Atlantic Ocean was represented in material culture, and the legacy of this commemoration for historical writing and public memory in the subsequent 200 years.

Katie Donington

, to give even a faint and imperfect description, will puzzle the most eloquent of those who shall attempt to convey to posterity a record of the present times. George Hibbert, Slave Trade Abolition Bill, House of Commons, 23 February 1807, Parliamentary debates from the year 1803 to the present time , vol

in The bonds of family
Abolition from ship to shore
Robert Burroughs

This study provides fresh perspectives on critical aspects of the British Royal Navy’s suppression of the Atlantic slave trade. It is divided into three sections. The first, Policies, presents a new interpretation of the political framework under which slave-trade suppression was executed. Part II, Practices, examines details of the work of the navy’s West Africa Squadron

in The suppression of the Atlantic slave trade
Richard Huzzey

British suppression of the transatlantic slave trade rested on the threat of violent force. However, the use and exertion of naval power was shaped or constrained by political calculation. In considering the national and international politics of the maritime campaign, this chapter seeks to understand how the two interacted and, in particular

in The suppression of the Atlantic slave trade
A contribution to the debate
Pat Hudson

2 Slavery, the slave trade and economic growth: a contribution to the debate Pat Hudson In April 1831 Alexander Baring, of Baring Brothers, claimed that slave emancipation threatened to destroy ‘all the capital now employed in that branch of commerce’.1 At that time Barings had £250,000 invested in mortgages on West Indian estates, which amounted to half of its capital.2 In 1833 Baring Brothers lodged claims to several thousand pounds of emancipation compensation. The Bank also invested in slave-produced American cotton, which in that year represented a quarter

in Emancipation and the remaking of the British imperial world
Richard Huzzey and John McAleer

she was declared unfit for service. The ship was ordered to Sierra Leone where it was broken up – deliberately ‘destroyed by fire’ – leaving only a few traces of her actions in support of Britain’s campaign against the transatlantic slave trade. 2 The surveyors who reported on Black Joke attached specimens of the timbers to verify their report and, as Christopher Lloyd remarks, ‘all that remains of

in The suppression of the Atlantic slave trade
Sheryllynne Haggerty

Liverpool in Britain’s eighteenth-century empire Liverpool’s success has often been attributed to, and marred by, its being the leader in the slave trade after 1750. This popular perception of Liverpool’s economic history persists despite recent academic work highlighting the fact that the slave trade was not consistently profitable and was very

in The empire in one city?
Robert Burroughs

Introduction With the culmination of the West Indian emancipation movement in 1838, politicians and anti-slavery leaders turned their attention increasingly to slave-trade suppression. 1 Public interest in, if not support for, the cause was roused, as from the late 1830s until the early 1850s – especially in the 1840s when its

in The suppression of the Atlantic slave trade
David Lambert

Sierra Leone and the Gambia. Those texts that sought to defend British expansion served to justify this presence and the forms of local involvement and intervention that it enabled. Moreover, these texts contributed to a longer-standing discourse through which Africa was constructed as the ‘Dark Continent’. 8 The transformation of the slave trade from something that was central to Britain’s relationship with

in The suppression of the Atlantic slave trade
John Rankin

’ European bodies. These sources illuminate European sailors’ fears of the region’s fevers. 1 Scholarly interest in the West Africa Station has been confined to the politics and processes of slave-trade suppression and, if these studies do mention health, they echo the opinions of the likes of Bryson and Pritchett without development or context. 2 African experiences are largely

in The suppression of the Atlantic slave trade