Slavery, Diplomacy and Empire
Throughout the 19th century, British governments engaged in a global campaign against the slave trade. They sought, through coercion and diplomacy, to suppress the trade on the high seas, as well as in Africa and Asia. But, despite the Royal Navy's success in eradicating the transatlantic commerce in captive Africans, the forced migration of labor and other forms of human trafficking persisted. This collection of essays by international naval and slave trade historians examines the role played by individuals and institutions in the diplomacy of suppression. In particular, the book examines the personnel of the Slave Trade Department of the Foreign Office and of the Mixed Commission Courts. Additionally, the book looks at the changing socio-religious character and methods of anti-slavery activists and the lobbyists, as well as the problems faced by the navy and those who served with its so-called 'Preventive Squadron' in seeking to combat the trade. Other contributions explore: the difficulties confronting British diplomats in their efforts to reconcile their moral objections to slavery and the slave trade with Britain's imperial and strategic interests in Ottoman Turkey, Persia, and the Arabian Peninsula; British reactions to the continued exploitation of forced labor in Portugal's African colonies; and the apparent reluctance of the Colonial Office to attempt any systematic reform of the 'master and servant' legislation in force in Britain's Caribbean possessions. The final chapter brings the story through the 20th century, showing how the interests of the Foreign Office sometimes diverged from those of the Colonial Office, and considers how the changing face of slavery has made it the world-wide issue that it is today.
Publication Date: 10/1/2009