In London, Metropolis of the Slave Trade, James A. Rawley, a pioneer in the modern study of the slave trade, collects some of his best works from the past three decades. Also included in this volume are three new pieces: an essay on a South Carolina slave trader, Henry Laurens; an analysis of the slave trade at the beginning of the eighteenth century; and a portrait of John Newton, a slave trader who became a priest in the Church of England and composer of the hymn "Amazing Grace," as well as an outspoken opponent of the trade. These essays include a great deal of material that has not been covered in such detail elsewhere. Rawley brings together new information on individuals involved in and opposed to the slave trade and shows how scholars have long misrepresented the extent of London's participation in the trade. Throughout this work several important figures in the slave industry are depicted. They include: Humphry Morice, a London merchant and governor of the Bank of England, who owned more slave vessels than anyone in his time.
Richard Harris, Morice's contemporary, the liaison between London slave merchants and the English government, and, Rawley shows, an extensive trader himself. Archibald Dalzel, known for his writings on the trade, here shown as a slave ship owner, captain, and trader. Nathaniel Gordon, the only American executed for violating laws prohibiting participation in the trade. Rawley draws on material from the year 1700 to the American Civil War as he explores the role of London in the trade. He covers its activity as a port of departure for ships bound for Africa; its continuing large volume after the trade extended to Bristol and Liverpool; and the controversy between London's parliamentary representatives, who defended the trade, and the abolitionist movement that was quartered there. Sweeping in scope and thorough in its analysis, this collection of essays from a seasoned scholar will be welcomed by historians concerned with slavery and the slave trade, as well as by students just beginning their exploration of this subject.