The Price of Emancipation: Slave-Ownership, Compensation and British Society at the End of Slavery

  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-01-29
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Purchase Benefits
  • Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
List Price: $118.00 Save up to $3.54
  • Buy New
    Add to Cart Free Shipping


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


When colonial slavery was abolished in 1833 the British government paid 20 million to slave-owners as compensation: the enslaved received nothing. Drawing on the records of the Commissioners of Slave Compensation, which represent a complete census of slave-ownership, this book for the first time provides a comprehensive analysis of the extent and importance of absentee slave-ownership and its impact on British society. Moving away from the historiographical tradition of isolated case studies, it reveals the extent of slave-ownership among metropolitan elites, and identifies concentrations of both rentier and mercantile slave-holders, tracing their influence in local and national politics, in business and in institutions such as the Church. In analysing this permeation of British society by slave-owners and their success in securing compensation from the state, the book challenges conventional narratives of abolitionist Britain and provides a fresh perspective of British society and politics on the eve of the Victorian era.

Author Biography

Nicholas Draper is Teaching Fellow and Research Associate at the Department of History, University College London.

Table of Contents

List of platesp. vii
List of figuresp. viii
List of tablesp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. x
A note on languagep. xii
List of abbreviationsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
The absentee slave-owner: representations and identitiesp. 17
The debate over compensationp. 75
The distribution of slave-compensationp. 114
The structure of slave-ownershipp. 138
The large-scale rentier-ownersp. 166
'Widows and orphans': small-scale British slave-ownersp. 204
Merchants, bankers and agents in the compensation processp. 232
Conclusionp. 270
MPs appearing in the Slave Compensation recordsp. 279
MPs whose immediate families appear in the Compensation recordsp. 294
'West India interest' MPs, 1820-35, not appearing in the Compensation recordsp. 299
Other MPs aligned to the West India interest over Emancipationp. 301
Church of England clergymen in Britain appearing in the Compensation recordsp. 303
Clergymen in Scotland appearing in the Compensation recordsp. 316
Absentee clergymen elsewhere appearing in the Compensation recordsp. 317
Nobility and peers appearing in the Compensation recordsp. 318
Rentier Baronets appearing in the Compensation recordsp. 323
Mercantile Baronets appearing in the Compensation recordsp. 330
Subscribers to King's College who later appear in the Compensation recordsp. 331
Donors to the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church throughout England and Wales, appearing in the Compensation recordsp. 335
Members of the Eyre Defence Fund connected with slave-compensationp. 337
Nominees as Sheriffs appearing in the Compensation recordsp. 338
Notes on largest mercantile recipients of slave-compensationp. 341
London bankers appearing in the Compensation recordsp. 347
Slave-owners and other connections to slavery in Marylebonep. 361
Bibliographyp. 370
Indexp. 389
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

Rewards Program

Write a Review