This book is wholly devoted to assessing the array of links between Scotland and the Caribbean in the later eighteenth century. It uses a wide range of archival sources to paint a detailed picture of the lives of thousands of Scots who sought fortunes and opportunities, as Burns wrote, ‘across th' Atlantic roar’. The book outlines the range of their occupations as planters, merchants, slave owners, doctors, overseers and politicians, and shows how Caribbean connections affected Scottish society during the period of ‘improvement’. The book highlights the Scots' reinvention of the system of clanship to structure their social relations in the empire and finds that involvement in the Caribbean also bound Scots and English together in a shared Atlantic imperial enterprise and played a key role in the emergence of the British nation and the Atlantic world.
Prison, Slavery and Other Horrors in The Bondwomans Narrative
Haslam reads The Bondwoman‘s Narrative through the lens of the gothic literary tradition, as framed by Jerrold Hogle, and its relations to slave narratives, as discussed by Teresa Goddu. Specifically, the novel uses the gothic, in part, as slave narratives traditionally do: to depict the brutality and horror of the violence of slavery. But Crafts transforms this use of the gothic into a direct attack on the slave owners themselves. Crafts situates the generalities of the gothic tradition within American slavery, writing a gothic narrative that - to transform Hogle‘s analysis - exposes the ‘brutal concreteness’ of slavery while depicting the ‘pervasively counterfeit existence’ of white superiority.
essential for Welsh industrialisation, and where better to look for that
than the Caribbean?
formations of capital
There are some high-profile examples of West Indian riches nourishing Welsh
industry. The Pennant family, Jamaican planters, stand out in this connection.
Gifford Pennant (d.1676) of Holywell, Fintshire, had emigrated to the island in
the first years of English settlement. His descendants were amongst the richest
slave-owners in British Atlantic world, owning five plantations (one of them
called Denbigh in a patriotic flourish) and more than a thousand
aristocracy and gentry.
For those involved in the slave economy the cultivation
of benevolence served a political purpose. As a leading spokesman
for the West India interest, George was aware of the reputational
damage being done by abolitionist representations of the slaveowners as cruel tyrants. Attempts to defend the slave trade through
the rhetoric of improvement were rebuffed in
larger numbers of white women demanded higher numbers of women slaves to
meet their demands, both in the domestic world and the public spheres of
the Barbadian markets. As I shall later show, although white males were
the predominant owners of slaves in the plantation sector, white women
dominated the ranks of slave-owners in the urban sectors of
The emphasis in existing literature on white women
social structures of slave societies shaped their worlds in fundamentally
distinct ways. Slavery permeated and indelibly shaped the contours of every
individual’s reality: white and black, male and female, rich or poor,
slave or free, and slave-owner and non slave-owners alike. No individual
remained untouched by this most barbaric institution, for slavery was
critical to the shaping of the gender, class and racial identities and
The Pennants’ Jamaican plantations and industrialisation in North Wales, 1771–1812
and copper production in Wales, with Bacon investing
his profits from slave-trading into the Cyfarthfa ironworks in Merthyr, which became the most
important centre for gun-founding in Britain. Coster developed the White Rock copper works
near Swansea. But the most direct link between the West Indies and Welsh industrialisation
came in the massive industrial slate quarry at Port Penhryn, near Bangor in North Wales,
developed by Richard Pennant (1737–1808), an extremely wealthy Jamaican slave-owner who
came into a large estate
Whiteness, as a lived experience, is both gendered and racialised. This book seeks to understand the overlapping imbrication of whiteness in shaping the diverse material realities of women of European origin. The analysis pertains to the English-speaking slave-based societies of the Caribbean island of Barbados, and North Carolina in the American South. The book represents a comparative analysis of the complex interweaving of race, gender, social class and sexuality in defining the contours of white women's lives during the era of slavery. Despite their gendered subordination, their social location within the dominant white group afforded all white women a range of privileges, shaping these women's social identities and material realities. Conscious of the imperative to secure the racial loyalty of poor whites in order to assure its own security in the event of black uprisings, elite society attempted to harness the physical resources of the poor whites. The alienation of married women from property rights was rooted in and reinforced by the prevailing ideology of female economic dependence on men. White Barbadian women's proprietary rights as slave-owners were upheld in the law courts, even the poorest slaveholding white women could take recourse to the law to protect their property. White women's access to property was determined primarily by their marital status. The book reveals the strategies deployed by elite and poor white women in these societies to resist their gendered subordination, challenge the constraints that restricted their lives to the private domestic sphere, secure independent livelihoods and create meaningful existences.
Moving between Britain and Jamaica this book examines the world of commerce, consumption and cultivation created and sustained through an engagement with the business of slavery. Tracing the activities of a single extended family – the Hibberts – it explores how the system of slavery impacted on the social, cultural, economic and political landscape of Britain during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Integrating an analysis of the family as political and economic actors with an examination of their activities within the domestic and cultural sphere, the book provides an overview of the different ways in which slavery reshaped society both at home and out in the empire. From relatively humble beginnings in the cotton trade in Manchester, the Hibberts ascended through the ranks of Jamaica’s planter-merchant elite. During the abolition campaigns they were leading proslavery advocates and played a vital role in securing compensation for the slave owners. With a fortune built on slavery, the family invested in country houses, collecting, botany and philanthropy. Slavery profoundly altered the family both in terms of its social position and its intimate structure. The Hibberts’ trans-generational story imbricates the personal and the political, the private and the public, the local and the global. It is both the personal narrative of a family and an analytical frame through which to explore Britain’s participation in, and legacies of, transatlantic slavery. It is a history of trade, colonisation, exploitation, enrichment and the tangled web of relations that gave meaning to the transatlantic world.
was about the slaveowner’s legal right to demand labour.
This, in part, is why Mary Prince, the West Indian ex-slave, wrote
that her resistance to slavery had much to do with the denial of a
right to time for ‘herself’. 4
For many blacks the unacceptability of slavery as a
violently enforced pattern of relations was most acutely felt when
‘free’ time was rejected and their total