the regime allowed him to escape, for a time, the official suppression of anti-slavery publications in Napoleonic France after 1802. Then, before, and after, abolitionism would not flourish in societies ruled by absolutist states.

In crucial ways, however, the achievements of Anglo-American Protestantism were the product of its failures. No set of colonial settlements proved more impervious to the Christian conversion of enslaved Africans than the plantation societies of the British Empire. The attention elsewhere to what the historian Frank Tannenbaum once called the 'moral personality' of the slave, however imperfect and incomplete, had helped sustain the view that human bondage could be reconciled to the ideal of Christian servitude.24 British colonists neglected the 'moral personality' of the enslaved almost completely until the very end of the eighteenth century. They made little effort to cast slavery as consistent with Christian practice. That choice left them highly vulnerable to evangelicals who called for a return to earnest Christianity and the promotion of moral purity.


1. Thomas Clarkson, The history of the rise, progress and accomplishment of abolition of the African slave trade by the British Parliament, 2 vols. (London: Longmans, 1808), vol. 2, pp. 8, 11.

2. Dauril Alden, The making of an enterprise: The Society of Jesus in Portugal, its empire, and beyond, 1540-1770 (Palo Alto, CA: Standford University Press, 1996), p. 525.

3. David Brion Davis, The problem of slavery in western culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), pp. 62-121; Robin Blackburn, The making of New World slavery: From the Baroque to the modern, 1492-1800 (London: Verso, 1997), pp. 42-4, 64-76; Larry E. Tise, Proslavery: A history of the defense of slavery in America (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1987).

4. Davis, Problem of slavery in western culture,pp. 187-92; Boxer, The church militant andlberian expansion, 1440-1770 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978), pp. 32-4; Blackburn, The making of New World slavery, pp. 120-1, 150-6.

5. Richard Gray, 'The papacy and the Atlantic slave trade: Lourenco da Silva, the Capuchins and the decisions of the Holy Office', Past andpresent, 115 (1987), p. 58.

6. Davis, Problem of slavery in western culture, pp. 144-50, 291-348, 472-82; Wylie Sypher, Guinea's captive kings: British anti-slavery literature of the XVIIIth century (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1942); Thomas E. Drake, Quakers and slavery in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950).

7. Robert Edgar Conrad, Children ofGod's fire: A documentary history ofblack slavery in Brazil (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), p. 60; Sylvia Frey and Betty Wood, Come shouting to Zion: African American Protestantism in the American south and British Caribbean to 1830 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998), pp. 63-79; Sue Peabody, '"A dangerous zeal": Catholic missions to slaves in the French Antilles, 1635-1800', French historical studies, 25 (2002), pp. 69-70.

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