Unfinished Business in Europe and Scots Countervoices on Emancipation

Iain Whyte

in Scotland and the Abolition of Black Slavery, 1756-1838

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780748624324
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672196 | DOI:
Unfinished Business in Europe and Scots Countervoices on Emancipation

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Although the slave trade was abolished by Britain in 1807, the French under Napoleon continued it. Petitions once again were sent to parliament seeking its abolition as part of the conditions of the peace settlement in 1814. This time amongst the 141 contributions from Scotland the great majority were from civic bodies and were the outcome of public meetings, themselves now more of a possibility. However there were Scots who were prepared to defend both the trade and the institution of slavery. Archibald Dalzel from West Lothian, after many years in the slave trade and formerly Governor of Cape Coast Castle in West Africa, was commissioned by the Liverpool merchants to write a History of Dahomey in 1789 which justified the trade. In the 1820s two Scots in Jamaica, John Stewart and Alexander Barclay argued in print that the institution of slavery had changed greatly for the better. All these were helpful to the powerful Glasgow West India Association which strained every muscle to hold on to their sugar trade with the plantations. In James McQueen, editor of the Glasgow Courier they had a powerful ally.

Keywords: France; Dalzel; Stewart; McQueen

Chapter.  14322 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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