“The Slave­mas­ter of Trinidad”—a gift to the nation


Sel­wyn R. Cud­joe’s new book, The Slave­mas­ter of Trinidad: William Hardin Burn­ley and the Nine­teenth Cen­tu­ry At­lantic World, was launched in Trinidad and Tobago on December 14, 2018; see UWI TV to watch the launch. [See previous post The Slave Master of Trinidad.]

Rishard Khan (Trinidad and Tobago Guardian) wrote about the launch in “Cud­joe’s book a gift to the nation”:

Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley de­scribes Pro­fes­sor Sel­wyn Cud­joe’s new book should be used as a teach­ing tool in all schools across the coun­try. He was speak­ing at the launch at the Cen­tral Bank in Port-of-Spain last Thurs­day.

The book, The Slave­mas­ter of Trinidad: William Hardin Burn­ley and the Nine­teenth Cen­tu­ry At­lantic World, was pub­lished by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mass­a­chu­setts Press and chron­i­cles the life and times of William Burn­ley, the largest slave-own­er in Trinidad who was of­ten re­ferred to as one of the na­tion’s found­ing fa­thers.

William Hardin Burn­ley (1780-1850) was the largest slave own­er in Trinidad dur­ing the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry. Born in the Unit­ed States to Eng­lish par­ents, he set­tled on the is­land in 1802 and be­came one of its most in­flu­en­tial cit­i­zens and a promi­nent agent of the British Em­pire. A cen­tral fig­ure among slave own­ers, Burn­ley moved eas­i­ly through the At­lantic world of the Caribbean, the Unit­ed States, Great Britain, and Eu­rope.

Ac­cord­ing to an on­line lec­ture by Cud­joe, Burn­ley did every­thing in his pow­er to pre­vent the eman­ci­pa­tion of Africans in the colony. When slav­ery end­ed, he was con­vinced that on­ly Africans who had tyran­ni­cal mas­ters would ben­e­fit from eman­ci­pa­tion. The rest, he be­lieved: “Were too ig­no­rant to un­der­stand the re­al po­si­tion in which they were placed.”

Row­ley, speak­ing at the event said, the book was “gift” to the na­tion. “This book should be in every li­brary in the coun­try. It is es­sen­tial read­ing for all of our cit­i­zens,” the Prime Min­is­ter said.

Dr Brid­get Br­ere­ton, Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus of The Uni­ver­si­ty of the West In­dies and au­thor­i­ty on West In­di­an his­to­ry, de­scribed the book as es­sen­tial and eye-open­ing. Spe­cial­ly-in­vit­ed guest Chief Jus­tice Ivor Archie said the book fills the gap in the na­tion’s ed­u­ca­tion.

Cud­joe pre­sent­ed the Prime Min­is­ter and Chief Jus­tice each with a copy of the book. He al­so pre­sent­ed Willi Chen, famed writer and painter; Pe­ter George; and his sis­ter Mar­garet, who came from New York for this event, with copies of the book.

Cud­joe said he grew up see­ing Burn­ley’s Or­ange Grove, Tacarigua man­sion and watch­ing his fam­i­ly mem­bers work on the Or­ange Grove Sug­ar Es­tates that was owned by Burn­ley. Cud­joe al­so wrote the fore­word to the Prime Min­is­ter’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, From Ma­son Hall to White­hall: ‘His Name Is Kei­th Row­ley.’

For original article, see http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/pm-cudjoes-book-a-gift-to-the-nation-6.2.738616.32df99b76f. [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]

Also see our previous https://repeatingislands.com/2018/09/25/new-book-selwyn-r-cudjoes-the-slave-master-of-trinidad

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