Throughout the nineteenth 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 and in Africa and Asia. But, despite the Royal Navy's success in eradicating the transatlantic commerce in captive Africans, the forced migration of labour and other forms of people trafficking persisted. This collection of essays by specialist international, naval and slave trade historians examines the role played by individuals and institutions in the diplomacy of suppression, particularly the personnel of the Slave Trade Department of the Foreign Office and of the Mixed Commission Courts; the changing socio-religious character and methods of anti-slavery activists and the lobbyists; and 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 labour in Portugals African colonies; and the apparent reluctance of the Colonial Office to attempt any systematic reform of the 'master and servant' legislation in force in Britains Caribbean possessions. The final chapter brings the story through the twentieth century, showing how the interests of the Foreign Office sometimes diverged from those of the Colonial Office, and considering how the changing face of slavery has made it the world-wide issue that it is today.
Keith Hamilton is an historian in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Senior Editor of the series, Documents on British Policy Overseas. Patrick Salmon is Chief Historian in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Professor Emeritus of History in the University of Newcastle.
Foreword; Introduction; Zealots & Helots: the slave trade department of the nineteenth-century Foreign Office; Judicial Diplomacy: British officials & the mixed commission courts; Slavery, free trade & naval strategy, 1840-1860; Anti-slavery activists & officials: "influence", lobbying & the slave trade, 1807-1850; "A course of unceasing remonstrance": British diplomacy & the suppression of the slave trade in the East; The British "official mind" & nineteenth-century Islamic debates over the abolition of slavery; The "taint of slavery": the Colonial Office & the regulation of free labour; The Foreign Office & slavery & forced labour in Portuguese west Africa, 1894-1914; The anti-slavery game: Britain & the suppression of slavery in Africa & Arabia, 1890-1975; Index.