This book examines British colonial and evangelical discourse on slavery in India during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and how Indian slavery was erased within such discourse. It explores how ideas about Indian slavery contributed to the construction of colonial identity in Britain and India by imagining a ‘webbed’ construction of empire that links various sites together through a complex, dynamic, and shifting mesh of networks. The book challenges the notion that the ‘delegalisation’ of Indian slavery arose from unidirectional abolitionist pressure generated in the metropole. Instead, it considers how the abolitionist debate involving the East India Company influenced metropolitan ideas and resulted in specific political and ideological outcomes. The book also considers European involvement in the slave trade and slaveholding in late eighteenth-century India, and looks at how missionaries and abolitionists treated the issue of slavery in the country.
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