Power and persuasion : the London West India Committee, 1783-1833

Osborne, Angelina Gillian

September 2014

Thesis or dissertation

© 2014 Angelina Gillian Osborne. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

In 1783 the West India interest – absentee planters, merchants trading to the West Indies and colonial agents - organised into a formal lobbying group as a consequence of the government’s introduction of colonial and economic policies that were at odds with its political and economic interests. Between 1783 and 1833, the London West India Committee acted as political advocates for the merchant and planter interest in Britain, and the planters residing in the West Indies, lobbying the government for regulatory advantage and protection of its monopoly.

This thesis is a study of the London West India Committee. It charts the course of British anti-abolition through the lens of its membership and by drawing on its meeting minutes it seeks to provide a more comprehensive analysis of its lobbying strategies, activities and membership, and further insight into its political, cultural and social outlook. It explores its reactions to the threat to its political and commercial interests by abolitionist agitation, commercial and colonial policy that provoked challenges to colonial authority.

It argues that the proslavery position was not as coherent and unified as previously assumed, and that the range of views on slavery and emancipation fractured consensus among the membership. Rather than focus primarily on the economic aspects of their lobbying strategy this thesis argues for a broader analysis of the West India Committee’s activities, exploring the decline of the planter class from a political perspective.

WISE, The University of Hull
Hamilton, Douglas J.; Prior, Charles W. A.
Sponsor (Organisation)
University of Hull
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