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Slavery, Family, and Gentry Capitalism in the British Atlantic


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction - remembering and forgetting; 2. Halls and Vassalls; 3. Rise of the Lascelles; 4. Lascelles and Maxwell; 5. The Gedney Clarkes; 6. Merchants and planters; 7. A labyrinth of debt; 8. Managing a West India interest; 9. The enslaved population; 10. Between black and white; 11. Epilogue.

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A study of the British Atlantic World through a case study of the plantation-owning Lascelles.

About the Author

S. D, Smith is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of York. He has previously edited An Exact and Industrious Tradesman: the Letter Book of Joseph Symson of Kendal (2002).


"Smith says important and suggestive things about institutional business deficiencies in Atlantic commerce that should be taken up by scholars exploring nineteenth century West Indian decline. His study is the best study of a merchant-planter family since Richard Pares' investigations, including one on the Lascelles family, over a half century ago. He engages actively with the influential arguments Pares made concerning what we might call the "Adam Smith" problem." -Trevor Burnard, University of Sussex, EH-NET
"It is a remarkable achievement. Anyone who wants a thoughtful introduction to Britain's transatlantic trade when the sugar and slave trades were at their miserable peak, or who wants to consider how a merchant family could thrive in that chancy world, will find this a fascinating read." -James Robertson, H-Atlantic
"The author of this study infuses old-fashioned Namierite genealogy into the latest scholarship on Atlantic slavery to come up with one of the most compelling and detailed accounts of the commercial webs and families behind the horrors of the Middle Passage and beyond it." -Charles H. Ford, Norfolk State University, The Historian
"S. D. Smith's wise investigation of three generations of the Lascelles family, later barons and then earls of Harewood, presents an unusual and salutary perspective on the history of both the English landed elite and the British Atlantic world over two centuries. [...]it is straight-forward in the entirely compelling case it makes for, and the example it provides of, conceiving the history of the British transatlantic nexus as broadly as possible." -James Rosenheim, Texas A&M University, American Historical Review
"Smith's book is a thoroughly researched, wide-ranging, and surprisingly accessible economic history of the vast transatlantic business empire created by the Lascelles and other gentry capitalists during the 18th century." -Brooke N. Newman, The Journal of African American History

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