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Abolition and Empire in Sierra Leone and Liberia by Bronwen Everill (auth.)

By Bronwen Everill (auth.)

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So when he recommended Sherbro as a site for the new settlement, his recommendation was taken to heart by the ACS. The ACS was founded in 1816 by a diverse group of influential politicians and humanitarians including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Henry Clay, Robert Stockton, related to a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Reverend Robert Finley, a prominent anti-slavery campaigner, and Bushrod Washington, the first president’s nephew and a former Supreme Court Justice.

They hoped to spread both commerce and Christianity in Africa, on their own terms in a separate American colony. Despite the initial failure of the ACS venture, these three men, through their various transatlantic networks, were able to direct the course of the American colonization movement: it would not merge into a British settlement, but would be a separate venture nearby on the West African coast, and a venture perpetually in competition with its neighbour. * * * The establishment of these colonies reveals the personal nature of the early transatlantic anti-slavery colonization movement.

He wrote home to his fiancée ‘that these apprenticeships have ... 6 Slaves freed in the area or from slave traders trying to trade within the colony were sold to Sierra Leonean settlers as apprentices for twenty dollars or kept by the government to do improvement works. 7 Because the anti-slavery activists in Britain saw apprenticeship as benefiting a long-term educating and civilizing mission, Thompson was recalled by the African Institution, who replaced him with a governor more amenable to the complex labour relations of the colony.

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