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Jewish Stories


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About the Author

Anita Ganeri is an author of children's books, including many on comparative religion and mythology. Rachael Phillips is an illustrator.


"This volume collects essays on British antislavery strategies and activism, the Foreign and Colonial Offices' policies and activities, and the work of the Mixed Commission Courts. Despite certain limitations and flaws, it will be of interest to scholars of the British slave trade and its suppression. ... After making vast profits from the trade in enslaved Africans, Parliament finally responded to pressure from antislavery organisations and passed the 1807 Act outlawing this trade. As subsequent Acts were passed, traders found new ways to circumvent their restrictions and the trade continued, unabated, notwithstanding treaties with other countries forbidding the commerce in enslaved Africans. It was not until the 1840s that a Royal Naval Squadron with suitable vessels in sufficient numbers was dispatched to the coast of West Africa to capture slaving vessels. Courts, sometimes staffed by Britons alone and other times, in the case of Mixed Commission Courts, staffed by judges from countries that had signed such treaties, were set up to judge the captured slave traders. ... Many contributors to the book allude to the idealism of British officials involved in this process, an emphasis that ignores the profits earned by the judges and the Royal Navy and therefore lends an excessively rosy glow to the history. The unqualified and often incompetent judges were paid from the profits of the sale of slaving vessels: some British officials grew very rich from these captures. These funds were also used as prize money for the Royal Navy. Foreign and Colonial Office officials were also often less than idealistic or disinterested. The political importance of Portugal to Britain necessitated careful and often toothless diplomacy. One example of political pressures preventing any meaningful action can be found in Britain's treatment of the ongoing slavery (as "forced labour") in Sao Tome and Principe, from which British companies imported cocoa, in the period between 1894 and 1910

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