MADDEN, R.R. The Island of Cuba: Its Resources, Progress, and Prospects. Considered in relation especially to the influence of its prosperity on the interests of the British West India Colonies
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MADDEN, R.R. The Island of Cuba: Its Resources, Progress, and Prospects. Considered in relation especially to the influence of its prosperity on the interests of the British West India Colonies. London: Charles Gilpin, 1849. Large 12mo. pp. xxiv, 252. Publisher’s green blind- stamped cloth, title in gilt on rebacked spine. Guernsey Library label on upper cover and with their neat stamps. A very good copy.
COPAC locates 6 copies only. Sabin 43694.
Memoranda made in Cuba in the years 1836-1839, respecting slavery and the slave-trade, the state of society, commerce, religion and education in that island, when the author filled the office of Superintendent of liberated Africans.
Richard Robert Madden (1798-1886) was an Irish medical doctor, writer, abolitionist and historian of the United Irishmen. Madden took an active role in trying to impose anti-slavery rules in West Indies on behalf of the British government. He was born at Wormwood Gate, Dublin to Edward Madden, a silk manufacturer and his wife Elizabeth (born Corey). His father had married twice and fathered twenty-one children.
In 1829 he joined the Anti-Slavery Society, and mixed with such men as Thomas Fowell Buxton. Eventually he gave up the regular practice of medicine. When parliament abolished slavery throughout the British empire (1833) Madden secured an official position as a special magistrate in Jamaica and was one of 30 appointed to administer the statute abolishing slavery. A maternal great-uncle, a Dr Lyons of Lyonstown, County Roscommon, had acquired two plantations on the island in the 1780s, one of which, Marly, was eventually inherited by his nephew, Garret Forde. Madden arrived to discover two mulatto cousins and to learn that another had been sold as a slave. Frustrated in his attempts to deal with ex-slaves fairly and then threatened by former slave-owners he resigned in November 1834, he left Kingston and went to America. There he published ‘A Twelve Month’s Residence in the West Indies’ (1835). In this, and in evidence given to a British parliamentary select committee, he denounced the system of employing ex-slaves as forced apprentices. In 1836 he was appointed first commissioner for liberated Africans in Cuba, a colony of Spain, which since 1814 had been beholden to Britain; he was also made a temporary judge at Havana, bringing his salary up to £1,000 p.a. Both posts were intended to suppress the international slave trade.
After three years he returned to Europe via America, where he gave evidence on behalf of 49 illegally enslaved Africans who had revolted on board a Cuban vessel, the ‘Amistad’, seized control and on landing it in Connecticut been arrested by American authorities. In London, Madden took part, as the Cuba expert, in the first International Anti-slavery Convention (1840).
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