The Horrors of Slavery and Other Writings

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9781558760509: The Horrors of Slavery and Other Writings
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The Horrors of Slavery vividly records the history, ideas, and rhetoric of Robert Wedderburn, a Scottish-West Indian slave offspring, who was a leader in the movement to abolish slavery in the West Indies.
Wedderburn lived an extraordinary life in the slums of Georgian and Regency London during the insurrectionary ferment of the French wars and Reform agitation, working successively as a sailor, tailor, thief, prophet, blasphemous preacher, revolutionary conspirator, and bawdy-house keeper. His publications had an enormous effect in his time, and now for the first time are collected in book form.
Its unique documents - including abolitionist autobiography, prophetic piety, pungent radical journalism, and fiery colloquial speeches transcribed by government spies and undercover policemen - are echoes from the criminal and political underworld, enabling us to reconstruct the culture and mentality of a poor, unlettered immigrant black. They disclose the rough, rich, and creative political expressions of a desperate mulatto radical whose tavern oratory, blasphemous preaching, burlesque theatricality and revolutionary rhetoric aimed to liberate the enslaved in the West Indies and Britain, and to turn the world upside down in the manner of Cromwell's preachers.
Wedderburn provoked and endured the repressive wrath of the British government and helped to convince London's artisan ultra-radicals of the affinities between black West Indian and British working-class revolution.

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At first glance, the man who emerges from these writings seems hardly more than a minor blasphemous preacher who called Jesus a ``Bloody Fool'' for advocating turning the other cheek and who ran a brothel to finance his Christian Diabolist chapel. Many of the works attributed to this barely literate man were actually ghosted by others identified as editors. Closer examination, however, reveals that the oeuvre of this colorful, disreputable character is important to the African American tradition. Wedderburn became a leading proponent not only of abolition but of what would be termed today a black theology of liberation and a major figure in England's radical republican underground of the Georgian and Regency periods. The freeborn offspring of a Scottish slaveholder and a Jamaican slave, he was at once a product, witness and victim of West Indian slavery. His brief autobiography, reprinted here with various related correspondence, is a vivid indictment of an execrable system; its accounts of torture, including the flogging of his pregnant mother, burn themselves into the reader's mind like the sting of the slaver's whip. McCalman lectures in history at an Australian university.

Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781558760516: The Horrors of Slavery: and Other Writings by Robert Wedderburn

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ISBN 10:  1558760512 ISBN 13:  9781558760516
Publisher: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2017
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