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"A Just and Honourable Commerce" Abolitionist Experimentation in Sierra Leone in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries

Schwarz, Suzanne (2017) "A Just and Honourable Commerce" Abolitionist Experimentation in Sierra Leone in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries. African Economic History, 45 (1). pp. 1-45. ISSN 0145-2258 Online: 2163-9108

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Abstract

This article analyses the ways in which the Sierra Leone Company, a chartered trading company, attempted to persuade Africans to relinquish the slave trade in favor of an export trade in crops and other natural commodities. Company efforts to reform African economic activity led to increasing levels of travel and investigation on the upper Guinea coast in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The article examines how abolitionists constructed their case for reform in Britain, as well as the strategies deployed to implement their plans on the coast of West Africa. With scant first-hand knowledge of Africa, the directors of the Sierra Leone Company relied on the testimony of European rather than African informants. As a result, Company plans devised in London were misinformed and misdirected. From the early 1790s, Company employees based at Freetown undertook a series of short and long distance journeys to gather intelligence on the potential for cultivation and trade. Although Company ideas for the development of a “just and honourable commerce” were unsuccessful, their policies continued to influence debate on West Africa in the nineteenth century.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Keywords: abolitionist experimentation, Sierra Leone, slavery, natural commodities, abolitionist campaigners, growing interest in travel and exploration of Africa
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DT Africa
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Humanities and Creative Arts
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Depositing User: Karol Kosinski
Date Deposited: 11 May 2017 09:38
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 13:32
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/5394

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