Capitalism and Slavery

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Williams Press, Mar 1, 2007 - History - 312 pages
Text extracted from opening pages of book: Capitalism Slavery Eric Williams s THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS Chapel Hill Copyright, 1944, by THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY THE WILLIAM BYRD PRESS, INC. RICHMOND, VIRGINIA To Professor Lowell Joseph Ragatz Whose monumental labors in this field may be amplified and developed but can never be superseded PREFACE THE PRESENT STUDY is an attempt to place in historical per spective the relationship between early capitalism as exemplified by Great Britain, and the Negro slave trade, Negro slavery and the general colonial trade of the seventeenth and eighteenth cen turies. Every age rewrites history, but particularly ours, which has been forced by events to re-evaluate our conceptions of history and economic and political development. The progress of the Industrial Revolution has been treated more or less ade quately in many books both learned and popular, and its lessons are fairly well established in the consciousness of' the educated class in general and of those people in particular who are re sponsible for the creation and guidance of informed opinion. On the other hand, while material has been accumulated and books have been written about the period which preceded the Industrial Revolution, the world-wide and interrelated nature of the commerce of that period, its direct effect upon the de velopment of the Industrial Revolution, and the heritage which it has left even upon the civilization of today have not any where been placed in compact and yet comprehensive perspec tive. This study is an attempt to do so, without, however, fail ing to give indications of the economic origin ofwell-known social, political, and even intellectual currents. The book, however, is not an essay in ideas or interpreta tion. It is strictly an economic study of the role of Negro slavery and the slave trade in providing the capital which financed the Industrial Revolution in England and of mature industrial capitalism in destroying the slave system. It is there fore first a study in English economic history and second in VU Vlll PREFACE West Indian and Negro history. It is not a study of the institu tion of slavery but of the contribution of slavery to the de velopment of British capitalism. Many debts must be acknowledged. The staffs of the follow ing institutions were very kind and helpful to me: British Museum; Public Record Office; India Office Library; West India Committee; Rhodes House Library, Oxford; Bank of England Record Office; the British Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society; Friends' House, London; John Rylands Library, Manchester; Central Library, Manchester; Public Library, Liverpool; Wilberforce Museum, Hull; Library of Congress; Biblioteca Nacional, Havana; Sociedad Economica de Amigos del Pai's, Havana. I wish to thank the Newberry Li brary, Chicago, for its kindness in making it possible for me, through an inter-library loan with Founders' Library, Howard University, to see Sir Charles Whitworth's valuable statistics on State of the Trade of Great Britain in its imports and ex ports, progressively from the year 1697-1773. My research has been facilitated by grants from different sources: the Trinidad Government, which extended an original scholarship; Oxford University, which awarded me two Senior Studentships; the Beit Fund for the study of BritishColonial History, which made two grants; and the Julius Rosenwald Foundation, which awarded me fellowships in 1940 and 1942. Professor Lowell J. Ragatz of George Washington University in this city, Professor Frank W. Pitman of Pomona College, Claremont, California, and Professor Melville J. Herskovits of Northwestern University, very kindly read the manuscript and made many suggestions. So did my senior colleague at Howard University, Professor Charles Burch. Dr. Vincent Harlow, now Rhodes Professor of Imperial History in the University of London, supervised my doctoral d

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