Planters' Insatiable Appetite for Slave Labour

Written a decade after the Slave Emancipation Act of 1833, which gave slaves throughout the British empire their freedom, this document is an appeal to the British government for assistance from Liverpool planters and merchants with interests in the West Indies. It is interesting mainly because it indicates the social changes that had taken place since the freeing of the enslaved population. According to the authors, emancipation had led to a labour shortage and a fall in profitability. Although they probably exaggerated the 'distressed condition' of their enterprises, it is clear that many former slaves had left the plantations by this date. In this document the term 'West Indians' refers to White property owners, not the Black population.

CO 318/160, no. 1502 (9 August 1843)



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