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Slavery, Abolitionism and Empire in India, 1772-1843$
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Andrea Major

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781846317583

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317255

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date: 22 November 2017

‘The Produce of the East by Free Men’: Indian Sugar and Indian Slavery in British Abolitionist Debates, 1793–1833

‘The Produce of the East by Free Men’: Indian Sugar and Indian Slavery in British Abolitionist Debates, 1793–1833

Chapter:
(p.293) 8 ‘The Produce of the East by Free Men’: Indian Sugar and Indian Slavery in British Abolitionist Debates, 1793–1833
Source:
Slavery, Abolitionism and Empire in India, 1772-1843
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846317255.014

This chapter examines ‘free’ and ‘unfree’ labour in the Indian subcontinent and their intersection with metropolitan debates about how to exploit India's potential for colonial commodity production. In particular, it focuses on the relationship between the humanitarian impetus for the abolition of slavery and wider economic debates about free labour and free trade in the early nineteenth century. The chapter first considers the symbolic importance of India and Indian produce, especially sugar, in abolitionist campaigns before turning to Indian labour conditions and their discursive treatment by East and West Indian lobbyists and sympathisers. It also discusses the abstentionism against West Indian sugar and its implications for abolitionism and East Indian trade, along with the impact of sugar duties on the abolitionist campaign and East India commercial interests.

Keywords:   India, sugar duties, abolitionism, abstentionism, free trade, slavery, free labour, labour conditions

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