Attitudes to Liberty and Enslavement: the career of James Irving, a Liverpool slave ship surgeon and captain


By Suzanne Schwarz, published 1st March 2007

Prior to abolition in 1807, Britain was the world’s leading slave trading nation. Of an estimated six million individuals forcibly transported from Africa in the transatlantic slave trade in the eighteenth century, almost 2.5 million (40 per cent) were carried in British vessels.2 The contemporary attitudes and assumptions which underpinned this trade reflected a cultural outlook entirely different from that of the modern day observer.

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