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Horatio Nelson to Simon Taylor, 10 June 1805

Horatio Nelson first met Simon Taylor during the American Revolutionary War, while stationed in Jamaica. The two remained in touch. As Nelson remarks towards the end of this letter, by 1805, they had been acquainted for about three decades. The letter was written while Nelson pursued the French fleet in the Caribbean, during the months before the Battle of Trafalgar, and in it Nelson expressed his opposition to William Wilberforce and the abolitionists. Continue reading →

Royal Navy and the Caribbean

At a conference in Portsmouth next week, Christer Petley will discuss connections between the Royal Navy and slavery in the Caribbean, focusing on the relationship between Horatio Nelson and Simon Taylor. See this part of the S&R site to view the letter that Nelson sent to Taylor and which William Cobbett posted in his Political Register in February 1807, as part of a last ditch effort to stall the Abolition Bill as it passed through parliament. Continue reading →

12 Years a Slave on BBC History Extra

Dr Christer Petley, editor of the Slavery and Revolution website, answers questions on slavery and on the new movie, 12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen and based on the narrative of Solomon Northup. Click here for the ’60-second guide’. Northup was a free man born in New York in 1808 who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841 before reclaiming his freedom in 1853. Read his story, the basis for the film, here: Continue reading →