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Envoys of abolitionBritish Naval Officers and the Campaign Against the Slave Trade in West Africa$
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Mary Wills

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620788

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620788.001.0001

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(p.191) Conclusion
Envoys of abolition

Mary Wills

Liverpool University Press

The final chapter assesses the cultural and political significance of the West Africa squadron and the work of the naval officers involved in its operation, looking at the wider implications of the question of ‘success’ in discussions about the impact of the squadron both at the time of its operation and since. It examines the shifts and changes that took place during the sixty years of the squadron’s operation, including: perceptions of the slave trade and the best methods of suppressing it; the position of the Royal Navy in Britain’s imperial ambitions; and racial and cultural attitudes of Britons towards Africans and ‘others’. This chapter discusses the ways in which notions of duty and professionalism had changed, and how what it meant to be a Royal Navy officer in 1870 had altered as compared to 1807. It asserts the individuality and independence of naval officers, and their engagement with themes of anti-slavery, empire and identity.

Keywords:   Royal Navy, Naval officers, Duty, Anti-slavery, National identity, West Africa squadron, Slave trade

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