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 Slavery - General Information 
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Post Slavery - General Information
A nice summary with resources (PDF file) from the Lloyd's Register site:

Slave Trade

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susan


Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:34 am
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It does indeed seem to be a well balanced summary, with useful bibliographic and other references. It deals primarily with the trade in African slaves to the Americas, a very sensitive topic that in many instances has generated more heat than light. One could comment on many aspects: the piracy-slavery raids out of the North African ports, and the eighteenth century Acts of Parliament passed to ameliorate some of the evils (mentioned in some places in the article). One comment is worth making, to start the discussion rolling. Under the heading: "The height of the atrocity" the article comments that the Afro-American trade peaked in the years 1740-1810 due to the insatiable demand for labour in the plantations. If this had not led to the barbarous and cruel practices on such a huge scale, it is possible that there might never have been such a powerful movement against slavery. We might still be condoning, on a small scale, a custom that had always been commonly accepted and perfectly legal since the earliest times.

Martin


Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:00 pm
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It's also interesting that coolie labor was mentioned.

The movie The Hawaiians (starring Charlton Heston) starts off with scenes on board a coolie ship.

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Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:30 am
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Some further comments on this very good Lloyd's Register infosheet on the slave trade. The document mentions:

"Before the 1750s it is recorded that one in five Africans on board ship died from the poor conditions. Some European governments (including the British and the French) introduced regulations to improve the conditions onboard ship by reducing the number of people carried and insisting that a surgeon be present for the voyage These surgeons (though often unqualified) were paid ‘head money’ to keep the captives alive."

In his book "The Rise of the Port of Liverpool", C Nothcote Parkinson stated that from about 1700 onwards it was normal practice for 'Guineamen' to carry a surgeon with some experience in looking after the health of the slave cargo, though it was not a legal requirement until 1788. In that year the first of a short series of Acts of Parliament made it mandatory for British slave-ships to carry a surgeon. The Lloyd's Register document implies that these were often unqualified. The Act of 1788 (28th Geo III cap 54) states that at least one surgeon on each ship had to have passed the examination at Surgeons Hall. Later Acts in this series (29th Geo III cap 66, 1789, to 31st Geo III cap 54, 1791) tightened the qualifications. The surgeon had to produce a certificate from the Royal College of Physicians, or the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, or Surgeons Hall, or "some publick or County Hospital, or (in the case of the 1791 Act) "shall have served as a Surgeon or Surgeon's Mate in his Majesty's Fleet or Armies."

Not very onerous qualifications, but it should be noted that this was the first time ANY British ship was forced always to carry a qualified surgeon - it was not until 1803 that passenger ships had to carry a similarly qualified surgeon.

The Acts of 1788 - 1791 demanded that a medical log be kept and the surgeon had to deposit a 'bond' to guarantee that he would do so. The log was examined when the slave cargo was landed, and certified copies made for the master and surgeon to present on their return to Britain. All of these Acts allowed for the Master to be paid GBP 100 and the surgeon GBP 50 if the death rate among the slaves was less than 2 in 100; the sums were halved if the rate was between this and 3 in 100. It would be most interesting to know how many times these bonuses were claimed. As the records of the Receiver General of Customs have suffered severe losses in a series of fires in the Customs archives, it will not be possible to ascertain this with any accuracy.

Martin


Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:27 pm
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Hi Martin,

Thank you for posting those additional details. Even though there were government regulations, one has to wonder how closely they were followed given the brutal nature of the "business."

By the way, I'm currently reading George MacDonald Fraser's Flash for Freedom!, which has Flashman unwillingly (as usual) mixed up in the slave trade.

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susan


Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:32 pm
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For Slavery, the biggest thing in studying slavery in the past year is probably this:

http://www.slavevoyages.org/tast/database/index.faces]

The Slave Voyages Database allows you to search all the documented slave voyages available in this database, which number about 35,000 or so from the 16th century to 19th century. These voyages combined document over 10 million slaves coming across the Atlantic, which gives more validity to the estimate that between 15 and 20 million slaves during the 16th-19th century period (because there are plenty of slave voyages that were never documented and some documentation that we will probably never find if it ever existed). I was at Dickinson (the college that helped put it online) when they premiered it in a seminar about studying Atlantic Slave trade. Very valuable resource about the slave trade.


Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:22 pm
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