Capitalism and Antislavery: British Mobilization in - download pdf or read online

By Seymour Drescher

ISBN-10: 1349070009

ISBN-13: 9781349070008

ISBN-10: 1349070025

ISBN-13: 9781349070022

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Additional info for Capitalism and Antislavery: British Mobilization in Comparative Perspective

Sample text

In this context one can reappraise the significance of the Somerset case. " For a half-century, however , most historians of slavery have tended to take a different tack . " His concerns were not in the maximum extension of liberty but in social and damage control. In another case, before Somerset was forced on him, he said, 'I would have all masters think them free, and all Negroes think they were not, because then they would both behave better'. In the Somerset case itself, he emphasized that 'the setting of 14 000 or 15 000 men at once loose by a solemn opinion, is very disagreeable in the effects it threatens' .

P Hence they would also be enfranchised on becoming Chris- Border Sk irmish: Neither Wages nor the Whip 33 tians. The British planters seem to have carried this belief with them to the islands. g. to Jamaica until 1717, and to St Helena. Under the rules of the East India Company baptism conferred freedom . In one case in England a court ordered a master for whom a baptized black had worked for seven years to pay wages. 'This directive released the black from his slave status . >23 Planters took the precaution of nullifying baptism by colonial statute.

Who in the eighteenth century would have so described Jamaica or Barbados? " The phenomenon of absenteeism was of course one of the more obvious signs that the slave islands were not the best rich man's country either. Those who resided for some time in Africa and the slave colonies tended to 'suspend' patterns of customary behaviour. " This tension between economic utility and social distaste was present early in the development of the British slave colonies. Such attitudes appeared far too soon to attribute the phenomenon to the enlightenment.

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Capitalism and Antislavery: British Mobilization in Comparative Perspective by Seymour Drescher


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