Sweet Water and Bitter – The Ships That Stopped Slave Trade By Siân Rees


II. About the Author

Siân Rees is a British author and historian. She was born in Cornwall, has a degree in history from University of Oxford and lives in France. She is particularly interested in the social and maritime history of the 17th and 18th centuries. Her first book, about the transportation of female convicts to Australia at the end of the 18th century, was made into a Timewatchdocumentary and has been optioned as a feature film. The second, a biography of Eliza Lynch, led to her involvement in the Argentine documentary Candido Lopez: Los Campos de Batalla, directed by José Luis García.

Her books have been published in over fifteen countries and she is represented by the London literary agent Andrew Lownie.

III. Summary

The Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was passed in Britain in March 1807, and the last legal British slave ship left Africa seven months later. Other countries were slow to follow suit. Everyone in Britain knew there would be resistance, and when the abolitionist Granville Sharpe purchased land in Sierra Leone to ‘repatriate’ freed slaves, Ottobah Cugoana, a former slave living in London, asked if it was possible for a fountain to send forth both sweet water and bitter. 

The last legal British slave-ship left Africa in 1807, but other countries and illegal slavers continued to trade. When Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815, British diplomats negotiated anti-slave-trade treaties and a ‘Preventive Squadron’ was formed to cruise the West African coast. In six decades, this small fleet liberated 150,000 Africans and lost 17, 000 of its own men in doing so. 

In April 1862 and would, Seward wrote, ‘bring the African slave trade to an end immediately and forever’. 

‘We have spent 20,000,000l to abolish slavery’, wrote a British merchant in 1845,’and 20,000,000l more to repress the Slave Trade; yet does no one nation under Heaven give us credit for disinterest sincerity in this large expenditure of money and philanthropy. Whether the calm verdict of posterity will redress this injustice, time alone can show.’

IV. Lesson Learned

Slavery takes away a person’s liberty and freedom. It can take away the self-respect of a person for his life has been bought disgracefully buy some powerful person that doesn’t value the life of a person who ever it may be. The lesson that I learned is, don’t ever think of any person as low as dirt because everyone is the same even when the comes to an end.

V. Critic/ Review

What I can say about this book is that it is very good and historical. The author is good at picking important events and putting it in one book that tells history about slavery.

VI. References


  • Submitted by: Karlo T. Trabado
  • Submitted to: Ms. Joanna Jacinth Ferrer

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