Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

The list of acknowledgments is inevitably long for a first book. I have been the lucky recipient of an incredible amount of assistance, support, and encouragement since beginning this project. Generous funding from a number of different organizations enabled me to undertake research and writing. The History Department at the University of Michigan supported me throughout the whole of graduate school. A Pre-Doctoral Fellowship and Rackham Humanities Fellowship, along with summer funding from the International...

Contents

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pp. xi-xii

List of Illustrations

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pp. xiii-xiv

Abbreviations

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pp. xv-xvi

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Note on Terminology

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pp. xvii-xx

Throughout this study, a number of terms are used to refer to individuals of joint African and European heritage. These include: “mixed race,” “person of mixed ancestry,” “individual of mixed heritage,” “brown inhabitant,” and “individual of color.” Those traditionally referred to as “black”—that is, without European ancestry—are not included in those categories. Occasionally, the highly imprecise term “nonwhite” is used to refer to mixed-race...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-19

Robert Morse kept fine lodgings in London. As the eighteenth century turned into the nineteenth, he rented part of a home, which he might have briefly shared with Admiral Horatio Nelson, only blocks from the mansion later to become Buckingham Palace. Morse stocked the dwelling with elegant furniture, exotic goods, and exquisite art. Walking up the first flights of stairs, visitors were greeted by a remarkable painting of a dancer in motion. The piece sat near a chimney mantel, on which Morse kept a golden watch that he...

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1 Inheritance, Family, and Mixed-Race Jamaicans, 1700–1761

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pp. 20-89

As the embers of John Morse’s burned Jamaican estate cooled, his business partners struggled to make sense of the devastation. Morse had fled to England as bands of rebels approached his plantation in the autumn of 1760. Even though the first wave of uprisings had crested, hundreds of enslaved insurgents still poured through the colony in what was later named Tacky’s Revolt. The rebellion was one of the Caribbean’s largest slave insurrections up to that point, taking the lives of as many as five hundred unfree people and...

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2 Early Abolitionism and Mixed-Race Migration into Britain, 1762–1778

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pp. 90-142

At a Kingston debating society in 1774, Hercules Ross stood across the aisle from Thomas Hibbert. Under consideration was “whether the trade to Africa for Slaves was consistent with sound policy, the laws of nature, and morality.” This topic came out of the Jamaican assembly’s investigation the previous December into the extreme numerical disproportion between enslaved and free and how such imbalance threatened island security. Although he had arrived in Jamaica more than a decade earlier, Ross had thus far failed to...

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3 Lineage and Litigation, 1783–1788

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pp. 143-192

As Britons began reflecting on the legal and moral dimensions of slavery, they simultaneously turned their attention toward abuses throughout the Empire. The American Revolution, having just concluded in 1783, had unsettled the entire imperial project, and officials sought out evidence of other colonial mishandlings in order to forestall future turmoil. India, in particular, came under close scrutiny, and, in 1786, Parliament initiated a formal inquiry into Bengal’s erstwhile governor Warren Hastings on charges of mismanagement and...

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4 Abolition, Revolution, and Migration, 1788–1793

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pp. 193-248

One can only guess what passed through James Taylor’s mind when he landed in the small Scottish seaport of Montrose in 1791. He was only four years old and surely had few memories of his first three years spent in slavery. He had absolutely no knowledge of his Scottish relatives—most still using the original surname of Tailyour—whom he was about to meet. What was clear was that the young boy had not enjoyed the voyage from Jamaica. Storms had raged in the North Sea, making the journey’s final leg treacherous. Other...

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5 Tales of Two Families, 1793–1800

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pp. 249-300

Beset by financial troubles, Jack Morse went to court in the spring of 1795. The eldest mixed-race son of Jamaican merchant John Morse, Jack had grown weary, like his siblings, of the ongoing inheritance suit lodged by his cousin Edward. Still four years from being resolved, the case was now entering its second decade, and Jack desperately needed money. Rather than countersue his opposing litigants, Jack targeted other members of the family: first, he set his sights on a white cousin who had been helping the Jamaican Morses; second,...

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6 Imperial Pressures, 1800–1812

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pp. 301-346

On a spring night in 1805, James Taylor struggled to calm his nerves. The young Jamaican’s future appeared to hang in the balance, resting on the results of what was to transpire the next day. He had an interview with the East India Company as a candidate for its officer corps, and the meeting would dictate the path of his professional career. On top of everything else, James was not feeling well. On the journey from his Yorkshire boarding school to London, he had caught a bad cold, which he blamed on a fellow passenger having...

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7 New Struggles and Old Ideas, 1813–1833

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pp. 347-397

Ann Morse Middleton’s final years were ones of desperate struggle. She had led a globe-trotting life. Born to the elite free woman of color Elizabeth Augier and the white merchant John Morse in Jamaica, she had been educated in London, married to the East India Company official Nathaniel Middleton in Calcutta, and finally settled as a mother to a large family in Hampshire. These experiences advanced her socially and financially, but they could not stave off a pronounced battle with mental illness. The turmoil might have begun...

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Conclusion

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pp. 398-402

Not long after putting the finishing touches on an amendment to his will, Edward James Mascall set off on a hunting trip in Southampton, England. It was the early days of 1832, just months away from Parliament’s decision to abolish slavery in the British Empire, and the expedition ravaged the septuagenarian’s health. Gangrene attacked Mascall’s foot, and he died within six weeks. In typical English fashion, a brief dispute rose up over his will, but the estate was not excessively bounteous. The largest bequest, three thousand...

Appendix 1. Percentage of White Men’s Wills, Proven in Jamaica, with Acknowledged Mixed-Race Children That Include Bequests for Such Offspring in Britain, Either Presently Resident, or Soon to Be Sent There, 1773–1815

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pp. 403-404

Appendix 2. Genealogical Charts

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pp. 405-406

Index

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pp. 407-411