Travels in the West. Cuba; with notices of Porto Rico, and the Slave Trade.
Longman, Orme, Brown, Green & Longmans
Travel Writings
Goldsmiths' Library of Economic Literature, University of London. British Library. Biblioteca Nacional de España. Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Kongelige Bibliotek, Danmark.
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Travel Cuba Puerto Rico Slave Trade Spanish Colonies Mines Plantations
The abolitionist David Turnbull travelled to the Caribbean in 1837, to see the end of the apprenticeship system in the British islands, and to attempt to find a solution to the growing problem of the slave trade to Cuba. This travel narrative describes Turnbull's controversial visit to Cuba, and includes descriptions of copper mines and plantations worked by Cuban slaves, the barracoons of Havana where newly- imported Africans were kept and sold, the functioning of the Mixed Commission courts, financial and trade regulations, and the current functioning of the slave trade. He portrays the trade as an international problem - encouraged by Spain, carried out mainly under the protection of foreign flags, funded by external backers and insurers and debated in the capitals of Europe by foreign consuls - and argues that in fact many of the Cuban plantation owners desired the abolition of the trade "as devoutly as ever did a Clarkson or a Wilberforce" (170), as it would increase the value of their slaves. His solution for ending the trade was to force an increase in the risks and costs at every stage, until profits became too low to make it worth- while. Turnbull also visits Puerto-Rico, where he investigates allegations of an internal Caribbean trade in slaves, and practices of kidnapping to supply the market in the Spanish colony.